lemons are one of the handful of things that i always have in. other essentials which reassure me that i can cook something wonderful, if necessary, are garlic, chillies, onions/shallots, tomatoes and fresh herbs.
this week, needing to go shopping but not having found the time, lemons have been the life-saving ingredient in a number of meals. i particularly like using them to add freshness and zing to salad dressing – unless it’s balsamic or fruit flavoured i rarely use vinegar anymore.
one meal which seemed to rely on all my standby ingredients was this lovely lemon and basil risotto with oregano roasted tomatoes.
lemon and basil risotto with roasted tomatoes (serves 2-3)
for the roasted tomatoes:
4-6 tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
250g arborio rice
100 ml white wine
700ml vegetable stock (i make mine with marigold bouillon powder)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
50g grated parmesan
handful of basil
sprinkle the tomatoes with olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper. roast at 200c for around 30 minutes (while you make your risotto) until they start to caramelise. leave in the (turned-off) oven to keep warm.
melt the butter with the olive oil and add the onion, garlic and chilli. fry over a low heat until the onion is translucent. add the rice and stir, to coat the grains with the butter mix. turn the heat up, add the wine and allow it to boil for a minute or so. add the stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly. as the rice absorbs the stock, add extra until the rice is cooked and the stock has been used up.
add the lemon juice and zest, basil and parmesan. season to taste and serve topped with the roasted tomatoes and with a rocket salad (with a dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper).