Lemon Chicken Risotto

Last night was one of those nights where I felt frazzled by the thought of making dinner. I was making this recipe for Lemon Chicken Risotto, so I should have been walkin’ on easy street. I love risotto and don’t know why it has a reputation for being complicated. Maybe it’s because a lot of recipes claim you have to stand at the stove, constantly stirring the rice, for upwards of 20 minutes. Let me tell you this – I’ve been making risotto for years and I never babysit it like that. True, I don’t leave the kitchen so I can keep an eye on it, but I just make sure the pan never gets too dry and give everything a quick stir every few minutes.

Lemon chicken risotto

Anyway. I was frazzled, which meant by the time dinner was done I forgot all about photographing the gorgeous skillet full of deliciousness. As Steve and Katie made oohing and ahhing noises over the bright, lemony flavors and the perfectly cooked chicken, I realized my mistake. I quickly gathered the leftover risotto to one side of the pan and tried to strategically photograph it so it didn’t look like 3/4 of the pan was missing. Ha!

Guys. This is some seriously good risotto. We all love risotto, but this was a real showstopper. The fresh herbs and the punch from the lemon were utter perfection. I don’t have lemon pepper seasoning, but I did have some free samples of Mrs. Dash, so I used that last night. I should probably put lemon pepper seasoning on the shopping list, though, since I plan to make this one often.

Lemon Chicken Risotto
Slightly modified from How Sweet It Is

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 to 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper for seasoning
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
lemon wedges for serving

Season the chicken with the salt, garlic powder and lemon pepper seasoning on both sides. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken. Cook on both sides until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate. Once cool, cut into bite-size pieces.

Heat the stock over medium heat.

If the pan looks dry, add a little more oil, then add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes, then add the rice. Stir to toast the rice until it’s somewhat translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the white wine and wait until the rice absorbs it before starting to add the stock, stirring until the rice absorbs the liquid like it did with the wine. Repeat this until all stock has been added and the rice is al dente. This process should take about 20 minutes.

Stir in the scallions, lemon zest, parmesan, basil and parsley. Taste and season with more salt or pepper, if needed. Add the tablespoon of butter along with the chicken, and toss to melt the butter. Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top of each serving.