Rachael Ray’s Bright and Creamy Lemon Risotto

Creamy and tangy, culinary personality Rachael Ray’s Lemon Risotto is sunshine on a plate. 

While risotto can be prepared any number of ways, this comforting Italian dish gets an update from the daytime talk show host, with a citrusy flavor that’s hard to resist.

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray wears a white blouse in this photograph.
Rachael Ray | Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for SOBEWFF®

Ray’s Lemon Risotto is a creamy feast

For the Food Network star’s risotto dish, you’ll need chicken stock, extra-virgin olive oil, water, chopped onion, grated garlic, Arborio rice, lemons, white wine, sugar or honey, butter, grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, and mint and basil leaves.

“Risotto,” Ray explained in the video from her daytime show, Rachael Ray, “should remain pourable, like polenta. And that creamy factor is not from heavy cream, of course. It’s from developing the starch of the rice itself.”

The chef’s risotto adds refreshing flavor

Ray starts in her video demonstrating this recipe by heating oil in her risotto pot.

“What do I mean by risotto pot?,” she asks while explaining, “Try and choose a pan, if you have one in your home, that has rounded corners … But a risotto pot, you want to be able to develop the starch in the rice, that’s why it’s a benefit to have a round bottom pan.”

She grates in a “couple of cloves of garlic,” and adds the lemon zest, “a lot of lemon zest,” as well as the arborio rice, stirring it in the oil and other ingredients to get it toasted.

Ray adds the white wine, noting that “every time we add liquid to risotto, we let it absorb completely before we add the next layer of liquid.”

When the wine becomes absorbed in the rice, she adds “a few ladles of warm stock,” explaining that home cooks can use chicken stock or vegetable stock, whichever they prefer. “We’re just stirring, stirring, stirring, stirring, working the edges of the pot and beating up that short-grain rice to give it that creamy consistency.”

With a few pats of butter, lemon juice, grated Parmesan cheese, and chopped basil leaves, this risotto is ready to serve. As a final touch, Ray adds the loosely chopped mint and pistachios, a “delicious combination for this,” as well as a drizzle of honey. 

Get the complete recipe and reviews on Food Network’s site.

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Reviewers loved Ray’s Lemon Risotto but some home cooks found it over-puckery

It’s obvious that the chef’s lemon risotto will surely be most welcome to those home cooks with a taste for tang. For those who weren’t expecting so much zest, it left a bit of a sour flavor.

“I love lemons and adored this recipe. … I love serving it with fish; such a luscious creamy contrast to a firm tilapia. This is for lemon lovers only though,” one home cook wrote on Food Network’s site.

Another home cook added, “I am a risotto lover – I make it often. This is, hands down, the best recipe! I did pull back the juice of one lemon to a half. Served with seared scallops! Delicious!”

Other reviewers weren’t feeling the love, however, with one person saying, “I might try this recipe again, but I’d leave out the lemon juice. …  I guess I’m just not a big lemon guy. My wife didn’t care for it either…”