Occasionally, I have moments of frugality, which result in a decision that a dinner must be made with whatever ingredients are available in the pantry and absolute zero additional investment. The best part of frugal cooking is that it often leads to memorable meals and keeper recipes. A couple of nights ago, all we had was one lime, one lemon, some mascarpone, a basil plant my daughter is growing for a school project, plus the very essential pantry stuff. And the outcome; a refreshing risotto, with a burst of lemony herbal flavors. We tend to be short on food sometimes, but are never short on booze, so we opened up a bottle of white and toasted to frugality. —QueenSashy
Carnaroli or Arborio rice
Juice and zest from one small lemon
Juice and zest from one lime
olive oil, plus some more for drizzling
shallot, finely chopped
About 20 large basil leaves, finely minced (plus extra leaves for garnish)
Salt and pepper
In This Recipe
Bring the broth to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the broth simmer gently.
Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the shallots are soft and yellow (do not brown).
Add the rice, mix to coat and cook, stirring occasionally for another 2-3 minutes, until the rice is translucent.
Gradually add the hot broth, one ladleful at a time. Add the lemon and lime juice, and the zest. Stir frequently, and keep on adding more liquid as the rice absorbs.
Cook for about 20 minutes (it will depend on the rice you are using), until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is creamy.
Remove the risotto from the heat and add the basil and the mascarpone. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the risotto into individual plates, garnish with basil leaves, drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.