Lemon-Scented Risotto with Morels and Chives

My wife and I recently found this cookbook while shopping at Joan’s On 3rd in Los Angeles. The cookbook has many recipes which have inspired me, so I will be cooking many of them over the next few weeks.

While shopping at Costco recently, we came across fresh seafood and we decided to buy some mussels and scallops. For last night’s dinner, I prepared the scallops, but the main star of the dinner was the risotto. I have made risotto once before, and it did not turn out well. I found this recipe to be much better, and the end product was spectacular. I may have gone overboard with the cheese, but you can never have too much Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Original recipe source is Bistro Cooking at Home by Gordon Hamersley


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound fresh morels (if you have trouble finding them, you can substitute some baby portobellos)
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 cups chicken broth or mushroom stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano


Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saute pan over high heat. Add the morels, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring, until aromatic, about another 2 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until most of the wine is gone, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and reserve.

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil and then lower to a gentle simmer.

In a large, heavy-based saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring well to coat the rice, for about a minute. Add the lemon juice and continue to stir until all of the lemon juice has been absorbed.

Add about 1 cup of the hot broth to the rice and stir gently with long, slow strokes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the morels. Add another cup of broth and cook, stirring, until almost all of that broth has been absorbed. Continue cooking the rice in this way until it plumps up and feels chewy and just slightly firm to the bite, 20 to 30 minutes. Season the rice with salt and pepper to taste toward the end of cooking.

Take the rice off the heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the chives, and the Parmesan cheese, and stir to combine the ingredients. Serve with extra grated cheese, if you like.

I ended up serving the risotto with seared scallops, mixed greens with a raspberry vinaigrette, toasted bread and a glass of Pinot Noir.


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