Chicken, lemon and chive risotto

It’s a close call between this and Chinese crispy shredded duck, but risotto has to take the top spot as my all time favourite food — but only when it’s made properly.

Because my dad is such a great Italian cook (he’s not actually Italian, he just cooks like he is), he knocks up the best risotto I’ve ever, ever tasted. As a result, I can rarely order it in restaurants as invariably, I end up disappointed.

So, this is my gift to you: my dad’s chicken, lemon and chive risotto. It’s like a big ol’ hug in a bowl. The sort of hug you need on a really cold winter’s night after a really bad day at work. But you have to make it with love, else it just won’t taste the same, ok?

You’ll need:

Hats off to Italy

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 10oz risotto rice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Half a bunch of fresh chives (chopped), with extra for sprinkling
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1.5oz butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 150ml white wine (if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
  • The grated rind and juice of one lemon
  • Olive oil
  • 3oz parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Salt and pepper

Make the magic happen

  1. Cut the chicken into small pieces and fry on a medium heat in olive oil
  2. Take a large, heavy based saucepan and bring your stock to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer
  3. In another pan, heat olive oil and a knob of butter over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, stirring regularly

    Action stations!

  4. Add the uncooked rice and mix so that it’s coated with the oil and butter, stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes until the grains have become translucent in appearance
  5. Add the wine and cook until reduced, stirring constantly
  6. Add a ladleful of the hot chicken stock, stirring constantly until absorbed. Repeat this until all of the stock has been added, then pour in the fresh lemon juice. You don’t want it to be dry as risotto is meant to be oozy and creamy, so cook for about 20 minutes, keeping an eye on the consistency. The rice should be creamy but firm to the bite (‘al dente’ as the Italians say)

    Lovingly ladled

  7. Add in the chicken and lemon rind, then stir well

    All coming together

  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, mixing well until melted. Pop in your chopped chives and parmesan, along with the salt and pepper and stir

    Creamy goodness

  9. Transfer into a large bowl and sprinkle the rest of the chopped chives and parmesan over the top

    Buon appetito

Enjoy with a glass of your favourite wine and a piece of foccacia bread.

Love Emma xx


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