Cast Iron

Lemon and Toasted AlmondĀ Risotto

March  8, 2021
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Here's a bright-tasting risotto that pairs perfectly with just about any roast you might want to serve during the holidays. The chewy, flavorful oat groats create a starchy broth that makes this vegan dish creamy without any dairy products. You can also use cooked farro, instead of oat groats, if you prefer. Enjoy!! ;o) —AntoniaJames

What You'll Need
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped (Measure before chopping; and feel free to use more, to taste.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • About 2 tablespoons chopped parsley stems (if green and fresh)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc (plus a glass for you to enjoy while stirring the pot!)
  • 3 to 4 cups light vegetable broth (best to use homemade -- see note below**)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
  • Juice and zest of two small Meyer lemons (or one medium regular lemon)
  • 1 cup cooked whole oats (or "oat groats," as they're often called), in their cooking liquid (up to about 1/4 cup of liquid), optional but recommended
  1. Heat the oil in a wide heavy pot. (I use my enameled cast iron braising pan for this.) Add the chopped almonds and cook just until fragrant, stirring all the while. Remove immediately, once most of them have started to turn light brown. Work quickly, as they can go from light brown to dark almost instantly.
  2. Add the shallots, and stir to coat with the fragrant oil. Sweat them, covered, over medium low heat for about five minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Add the garlic and a good pinch of salt and cook, uncovered, for about thirty seconds, stirring.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium and add the rice, stirring constantly to mix it thoroughly with the aromatics and oil.
  4. Add the parsley stems and the wine (and take a sip of the glass you poured for yourself). Let it cook down for a minute or so, and then add about one half cup of the stock, stirring constantly. Once the stock is mostly absorbed, add another half cup or so of stock, stirring all the while. Continue to do this (adding more stock once most but not all of the stock you just added has been absorbed) until you have used about 3 cups of the stock. Test a grain of rice. Is it firm but tender? If not, add more stock, one half cup at a time, and continue to stir.
  5. When the rice is al dente, add the cooked whole oats and their cooking liquid and cook for about 30 seconds, to heat them through. (If you made the oats well in advance, and they are cold, you will need a few minutes to warm them up.) Stir in the lemon juice and zest, as well as the almonds, and give it a good stir. Test for salt and correct (and add pepper, if you like). Add the parsley and gently toss.
  6. Serve immediately. Enjoy!! ;o)
  7. ** I make a quick vegetable stock for this using the green tops of 2 leeks, a small carrot, a stalk of celery and the stems from the parsley chopped for this dish, covering with about 6 cups of water and simmering for 30 to 40 minutes.
  8. To make oat groats, cover with at least two inches of cold water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about ten minutes. Add about a cup of water, bring it back up to the boil, and then turn off the heat. Cover and let sit for at least 2 hours. Four to six hours, or overnight, is even better. Remove the lid, bring to a boil and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes, until soft but still chewy. You can also cook them on the stove for 45 minutes to an hour, adding water as necessary to keep the oats covered, if you prefer. Let them sit for at least fifteen minutes before using. ;o)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rebecca Burnham
    Rebecca Burnham
  • Lizzy Christman
    Lizzy Christman
  • aargersi
  • healthierkitchen
  • AntoniaJames

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

See problem, solve problem. Ask questions; question answers. Disrupt, with kindness, courtesy and respect. ;o)

14 Reviews

Rebecca B. January 12, 2017
Hello- I'm having my family over (9) on Sunday and although I'd love to try this, how important is it to serve immediately ? Ideally I'd make it Sunday morning? I've had plenty of risottos and of course they're best served right away. If I can't swing that, any tips for (gasp!) reheating ? Thank you so much
AntoniaJames January 12, 2017
I've heard about, but haven't tried, that you can make the risotto minus any final add-ins, stirring in up to half the broth, and then finish it later - it's very important though to make sure the broth added later is nice and hot. I'd put the cooled risotto in the fridge in the saucepan used to cook it, so as not to lose all the starch clinging to the saucepan. Do you think that will work? It will only take a few minutes, and perhaps you could even recruit a family member to do it! Make sure you add the hot broth a bit at a time, and of course, stir frequently.
I would not hesitate to try this. If you decide to do it, let us know how it works out, please. ;o)
Rebecca B. January 13, 2017
Thank you- I will give this a shot, and I have just the right person for the job! Stay tuned, I will follow up with you
Lizzy C. April 10, 2015
Hi there! Couldn't find oat groats. Do you think buckwheat groats could work? Thanks!
AntoniaJames April 10, 2015
I'm not sure how long they take to cook, plus, the deep, strong flavor would likely overwhelm the other flavors in this. I'd use farro or pearl barley instead. ;o)
Lizzy C. April 10, 2015
Hmm I was looking for a gluten free option because my mom has Celiac disease. I'll just have to make some calls about the oat groats. Thanks so much for the quick response!
AntoniaJames April 10, 2015
I wouldn't worry about the oat groats. I'd use a flavorful, chewy, short grain brown rice instead. It will be delicious! (Oat groats are wonderful, though, and worth getting, at some point.) I hope you and your dear mother enjoy it! ;o)
Lizzy C. April 11, 2015
Oh that's a great suggestion! Thank you so much :)
aargersi April 9, 2013
I want to make this, this week! I need more info on oat groats though - are the smashed flat like oatmeal or is it a whole grain? Do we look for them in bulk bins? Sounds delicious!!!
AntoniaJames April 9, 2013
Thank you, aargersi. Oat groats look a bit like farro. Or sort of like a cross between farro and barley, but rather long, and sort of yellow. Have you ever seen "horse crunch" (the mixed cereal feed given to horses)? They are in that! Or at least they were when I was a kid. In any event, they're whole grains, not flattened, with a hearty, delicious taste. While, cooking, they make your house smell so good! (When I made a similar pilaf over Christmas, my son came downstairs, exclaiming how good it smelled. I had to agree. Sort of breakfast for dinner, taken to a whole new level.) ;o)
aargersi April 10, 2013
I do remember that horse feed, in fact I used to eat it (well my horse got most but I nibbled :-) OK I am on the hunt for them now!!!
AntoniaJames April 10, 2013
The reason it tasted so good was the molasses in the horse crunch. I can see and smell it now. (The groats you get from the store won't smell like the horse crunch. But they'll smell delicious while their cooking!) ;o)
healthierkitchen April 9, 2013
sounds great! Oat groats available easily?
AntoniaJames April 9, 2013
Thanks, hk! We get there here at Whole Foods. In some places, they're simply called "Whole Oats." Hope you can find them. ;o)