Okay, I love risotto.  I am besotted with risotto, thus the coining of the term "besotto." This past week I made chicken stock - nothing heroic, just had two carcasses from some roasted chickens and to that added some onion and bay leaves, a little salt and pepper and – voilĂ  – chicken stock.  I love how gelatinous homemade stock is.  In texture, it reminds me of the awful chicken chow mein we used to get in the school cafeteria before any of us (at least in my age group and on the Main Line of Philadelphia) new what real Chinese food was!  I used to call it chicken Jell-o.  In flavor, nothing compares to homemade stock.  And it is at this point that I freely admit to using boxes of either Swanson or Trader Joe's chicken broth all the time.  Really, there just isn't enough time in a day to be making stock...

But, I digress.  Risotto.  Not as time consuming as one would think - but it does require standing in one place for about half an hour.  Seriously, after a hard day at the office, what is wrong with standing still as long as there is a good beverage at hand to help pass the time?

So, tonight I made a risotto – a spring risotto.  Peas, saffron, fresh marjoram and lemon zest/juice.  And it really tasted great. Next time you are stressed, just get out the olive oil, a shallot, the rice and some stock and have a go at it.  Check and see what else you have in the fridge and make it your own.  That is what we did this evening and we are headed off to bed with very contented bellies.  

– David

Spring Risotto – or Besotto

4 cups homemade or store bought chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 cup white wine
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh marjoram (or rosemary)
1 cup frozen petite peas
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a small saucepan, heat the broth until barely simmering and keep it warm at the back of the stove.

In a large kettle, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the shallot.  SautĂ© until clear and then add the rice.  Stir for a minute or so to ensure that all grains are coated and the rice begins to turn opaque.  Add the wine and the lemon juice and cook at a steady simmer, stirring all the while, until the liquid is almost absorbed and a wide trail is left on the bottom of the pot when the spoon is dragged across.

Then, add one ladle of broth and continue to simmer and stir the risotto until the liquid has been absorbed.  Do this one ladleful at a time until you have about two ladles of stock left.  At this point, add the zest, saffron, marjoram and peas followed by a ladle of stock.  Continue to cook and stir until all stock is used up.  The texture should be creamy and a bit loose – not too thick.  Taste for salt and then season well with Salt and pepper, remembering that the cheese will add some salt, as well.  Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir to incorporate.  Serve immediately in heated bowls.  Buon appetito!


  1. I am also besotted with risotto and I make it every chance I get. I love making it (standing and stirring and stirring and stirring -yes, with beverage in hand) as much as I love eating it. Yesterday's Easter dinner included a creamy tomato risotto (from New Basics Cookbook) that almost overshadowed the herb-crusted lamb (well, in my opinion. I am now anxious to try your recipe - it sounds fabulous.
    Thanks for the blog - it's excellent!

  2. Glad you like the blog - lots of fun for us, really! I love the sound of the creamy tomato risotto - I will be perusing New Basics tonight... Thanks for reading and writing!


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