Friday, May 04, 2007

Lemon Chicken Risotto

You've got to hand it to the Italians. They know how to live life to the full, tiramisu, risotto, espresso and all.

There are times where I wish I could teleport myself to the streets of Italy, even if it was to be for an hour or a minute (to get that whiff of aromatic caffeine laden scent that lingers around the streetside cafes).

Thank God for the Italians. There's nothing more enticing than the thought of having a full fledged Italian meal. Bring on the panna cotta and aglio olio I say.

Sometimes, or most of the time, when it's quite impossible to transport yourself to said country (especially when you're a poor student!), you just got to make do.

I think I'm getting very good at the 'making do' aspect. After all, you know you're there when you go into a supermarket and start picking things out you wish you could actually have there and then. You also know that it's probably much cheaper cooking it yourself. So there are plenty of reasons why you should just take that packet/box and put it into your basket.

That's what I did months ago when I was at Jason's Marketplace browsing, yes browsing (but well, you sure won't be surprised that most of the time, my supermarket browsing ends up into actual buys).

And so, I was just checking out the aisles, not looking for anything in particular when I came across that big blue box with a cute Big and bold brand that I quite like the sound of- Scotti. haha, yes I'm weird, I like cool names! Anyway, I saw it was arborio rice and I thought to myself, man, I could so do with a nice portion of risotto right now. I love risotto by the way :)

I mean, I knew that I just had to get that big box (which contained 1 kg of rice) and think about how to get it cooked later on.

Fast forward to May 2007, and I found my lovely box of erm, uncooked risotto (duh!) in my stash of cooking supplies and I was like 'damn, I gotta cook that before it fades into oblivion!'.

So I decided to make some risotto. Well I was gonna go to a friend's place anyway so I pitched my risotto idea and of course, I described it reeeeally well I think. You should hear me rattle on whenever I talk about food - believe me, you'll want me to shut up.

The cool thing about this box of Scotti, is that it's vacuum packed. Hurray! hahaaaaa... so it didn't matter that I bought this months ago:

It is still fresh! Well it's not expired yet anyway. I don't think rice has that short an expiry date.

So so so...... back to my risotto, and my virgin attempt at cooking it.

I used to think it might be a bit complicated but hey, I was wrong. It's actually super easy! Perhaps I chose a simple recipe but whatever it is, it tasted great. My mum and sis can vouch for it (yea brought some home for them to try), and so can my friend.

This risotto recipe is a definite keeper. Lemon Chicken Risotto, come on, tell me that even the name sounds cool. :p Sounds citrus-y doesn't it? Yea, there's alot of lemon zest and lemon juice in it and it kind of compliments the cheese I think. My mum actually thought it was porridge when I gave her some. All I told her was 'Mum, just think of it as Italian porridge'.

But one thing that really amazed me was how absorbent arborio rice is. It just kept taking in the stock - all 750 ml of it! Anyway, whatever it is, I know I'm going to cook this again soon. I topped it off with oregano leaves before serving - it tastes better that way :)

Oh, one more thing, it takes only 25 minutes to prep and another 25 minutes to cook, so if you're strapped for time and don't know what to cook and you happen ahem to have arborio rice at home like me, cook this. You won't regret, I promise you.


Lemon Chicken Risotto

Serves 4

1 chicken stock cube dissolved in 750ml (1 ¼ pints) boiling water
250g (9oz) risotto rice
Low-fat cooking spray
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tablespoons grated zest and juice of one lemon
50g (2oz) Parmesan, freshly grated

1. Place one-third of the chicken stock in a saucepan with the risotto rice and bring to the boil. Simmer until virtually all of the stock has been absorbed, then add half of the remaining stock, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, spray a non-stick frying pan with the cooking spray and fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes until browned. Set aside.
3. When the stock has been absorbed by the rice, add the lemon zest and the juice. Add the remaining stock and the cooked chicken.
4. Continue cooking until almost all the stock has gone and the rice is cooked. Stir in the grated Parmesan, season with ground black pepper and serve.


Anonymous said...

wow, this looks so yummy.....alas, i hv an idea for this w'end.


The Oriental Express said...

I picked up Italian cooking while watching my chefs. I called myself "a chef by crisis" ie. I cook when there is no chef around... either taken ill suddenly, etc.

Not difficult to cook pastas. Our signature dish.... pasto oglio and pasta marinara bianco, and signature desserts - tiramisu and panacotta.

Since you like food... you can log in our food blog at

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