Creamy lemon risotto with summer squash topped with a peppery arugula and fennel salad with freshly shaved parmesan cheese. This is the risotto recipe that you will make 1,000 times!
I can't think of any situation where I would turn down risotto, it may honestly be one of my favorite comfort meals. Creamy, cheesy, loaded with veggies, and rice that has perfectly soaked up some white wine goodness, YUM! I want it all, and I could eat it all the time.
Jordan and I have been making a version of this particular risotto for a few years, we have tweaked it a few hundred times and have now declared it the perfect meal. The addition of the salad on top was inspired by a little restaurant in NYC that we love to pop into, The Mermaid Inn. They have a pasta dish with a salad on top that I adore. Warm creamy starchy goodness paired with peppery cool and crisp veggies is so dang good you won't even believe it!
I have a little confession, I originally planned on posting this recipe about 8 weeks ago, and then grad school kicked my butt. I considered putting it into the archives for next spring or summer and then woke up to an 80-degree day here in NYC and thought, it's the perfect day to relive some risotto glory. October, November, April, or August, I would truly make this dish all year long.
Just look at that risotto party on a spoon! How could you possibly resist?
Risotto Making Tips:
- If you haven't made risotto before this is your starter recipe. It's simple and straightforward.
- You will need a heavy bottomed skillet like this one.
- As you are adding stock into your risotto make sure that the rice absorbs almost all of the stock before adding more. If you overcrowd the pan with too much stock at once you will end up with glue-like mushy rice.
- Risotto making is a very zen activity. Take your time, enjoy the process.
- You can sub just about any veggie for the summer squash, just make sure you don't overcook it. This risotto is delicious with Brussels sprouts, asparagus, zucchini, or even butternut squash.
Yummy risotto goodness, perfect for any time of the year, a winning recipe when guests are coming over (hello 35 minutes and very little clean up!), and full of veggies to partially counteract the cheese and carbs 😉 But you know I just came back from 10 days in Spain and let me tell you, no one there seems to have any trouble consuming lots and lots and lots of cheese and carbs. For today we will take a page out of the Spanish way of living book. Cool?
Yellow Squash Lemon Risotto with a Salad on Top
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 cups diced yellow squash
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine optional
- 3 tsp lemon zest
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salad on top
- 3 cups loosely packed arugula
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- generous pinch of sea salt
- coarsely ground black pepper
- 8-10 shreds of fresh parmesan cheese I use a carrot peeler
- Place your chicken stock in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and keep warm.
- In a large heavy-bottomed skillet (this is my favorite risotto pan), saute onion in olive until until tender, about five minutes. Add the yellow squash and a generous pinch of salt. Cook stirring often until the squash is tender but not too soft (about five minutes).
- Stir in the rice and continue stirring until the grains are well coated with the onion and squash and being to crackle a bit (just a few minutes).
- Begin adding the stock 1 ladle at a time, about 1/2 cup at a time. The stock should just cover the rice. Cook, stirring constantly until the rice has absorbed just about all of the liquid. Add another ladle or two of stock and continue to cook until the stock has been absorbed or the rice is almost dry. Continue this method for about 25 minutes or until the rice is tender but still a little chewy. Making sure to stir often (you do not need to stir continuously). You may use all of the stock or not, the important thing is that the rice is creamy and tender with a little chewy bite.
- Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese
- Toss together arugula, fennel, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Top with shaved parmesan cheese.
- Pile salad on top of risotto and serve immediately.
- Leftover risotto may become too firm. To reheat add a bit more veggie stock to loosen up a bit.
- I love serving this dish for a dinner party, it's impressive and easy!