This creamy Meyer Lemon Risotto is so bright and flavorful that you will look forward to serving it up as a side dish alongside your favorite Italian meals, grilled meats or as the main dish with veggies or a colorful salad.
Risotto is a creamy Italian dish made with arborio rice. It can be flavored in many ways and until recently, I thought it could only be prepared traditionally… long & slow over the stove. I must admit, I used to love ordering it at restaurants and vividly remember the first time I had it. It is as comforting as a big bowl of mac & cheese but far more sophisticated. The best part? The ingredients are simple. You will want to make this again and again.
With an abundance of Meyer lemons and plenty of fresh rosemary, I finally tried to make it on my own when I came across the perfect recipe in a Nigella Lawson cookbook. It fit the bill for ingredients and seemed fairly simple to cook. It did not disappoint, I was instantly transported to that restaurant in the back of a jazz bar on the beach so many years ago.
When my husband asked to put this on my “list” I knew I was going to have to find a quicker way to get this on the dinner table. This is why I love my pressure cooker. The instant pot came to my rescue, and I was able to adapt the recipe to be a little bit more “set it and forget it”. I saved myself about 20 minutes of pouring broth little by little and constantly stirring. Any time I have hands free is always a bonus.
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What You’ll Need:
Instant Pot- You can use any 6-quart pressure cooker that you have as long as it has a sauté feature, just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Arborio Rice– Arborio rice is an Italian short-grain rice. When cooked, the round grains are firm yet creamy when compared to other varieties of rice. They have a higher starch content and can’t be substituted for regular long-grain when making risotto.
Celery- Make sure it is finely minced. It won’t add any color to the rice but does add to the other fresh flavors.
Green Onions- The original recipe calls for two shallots, which you can use if you have them. I used the white parts of green onions in my version.
Garlic- I added one garlic clove to add a little depth. If you love garlic, you can add two cloves.
Lemon & Zester– Meyer lemons are a cross between a standard lemon and a mandarin. They are a little sweeter and the rind is slightly more orange. I have a tree in my front yard so I use them as much as I can during citrus season. You can use any variety of lemon that you have available, just make sure it is organic or “unwaxed” because we are using the zest as well as juice.
Rosemary- You can also substitute fresh Italian oregano or thyme. If you want to skip it, you can. Just garnish with a sprinkle of Italian parsley before serving.
Parmesan Cheese- You can use the pre-shredded cheese in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. You can even grate your own from a block. Both of those work well. However, do not use the powdery stuff in the shaker bottles. There are fillers & binders, preservatives and other reasons why it will not work for making a delicious & creamy risotto.
Heavy Whipping Cream
Egg Yolk– Save the white for a scramble the next day or to “glaze” bread if you make homemade. There are many uses for egg whites, you can even use it for making homemade granola. Pop it in the fridge and put it to good use.
Butter- Unsalted or salted works just fine. Adjust the salt to taste at the end.
Salt- to taste, start with a light hand and adjust as you prefer. The star of the show is the lemon & rosemary.
Vegetable Broth- Warm up 2 1/2 cup of a good vegetable broth. You need warm liquid because it helps to release the starches in the arborio rice that adds to the final creaminess of the dish.
Tips & Tricks
Other recipes don’t recommend doubling. With this one you can! One recipe will make either two large servings as a main dish or 4 servings as a side dish. If you are having a party, feeding a large family, or meal prep then double the ingredients. It’s that simple in your 6 quart pressure cooker.
I highly recommend preparing your ingredients before you get started (mise en place). Once you start heating up the oil & butter, things go pretty quickly. Then it’s seal, set & forget, & slow release. When the cooker is done (after about a 10-20 minute release) you will finish it off with your remaining ingredients.
Cod, Salmon, Shrimp, Grilled Chicken, or Steak- No matter which way you make them, adding a protein makes risotto a complete meal.
Salads- Colorful salads pair well with the risotto on hot days when you need something filling but still fresh. This makes a perfect combo.
Grilled Vegetables- Pick your favorite vegetable, stick them on some skewers and brush with Italian dressing or olive oil and season. Pop them on the grill for a healthy vegan or vegetarian meal.
Instant Pot Meyer Lemon Risotto
- 1 Pressure cooker 6 quart
- 1 bunch green onions, white parts only
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup butter, salted or unsalted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/3 cup arborio rice
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- zest & juice of 1/2 an organic Meyer lemon, (unwaxed) (regular lemon can also be used.)
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles removed from stem & finely minced
- 1 large egg yolk
- 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- salt & pepper to taste
- lemon wedges, Italian parsley or fresh rosemary for garnish
- Finely minced the onion (white parts only) & celery. Prepare & measure the remaining ingredients and heat the vegetable broth.
- Set your instant pot or pressure cooker to sauté mode. Add half of the butter and the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the celery & green onion for just a minute, toss in the rice and stir to coat with the butter/oil.
- Add the garlic, stir and add in 1/2 cup of broth. This part moves fast so nothing burns. Keep stirring just until the broth is starting to absorb. Turn of the heat.
- Make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom or sides to prevent a burn notice.
- Add the remaining broth and place the lid on your pressure cooker. Make sure the vent is sealed. Set the time for 5 minutes on HIGH and start. Slow release for 10-15 minutes for a single batch. If you are doubling the recipe, slow release for up to 20 minutes or until the pin drops. Be sure the pin has dropped or any remaining pressure has been released before opening the lid.
- Remove the lid and stir in the zest & rosemary. Then add the yolk, cream, cheese, lemon juice, and remaining butter. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve hot as a meal for two, or a side for four.
Adapted from a recipe written by Nigella Lawson