Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lemon Rice--Easy Dish from Italy

A couple of months ago in my local public library I bought for one dollar a second-hand book about Italian cuisine. It was published in 1968. I got it, out of curiosity, hoping for an original recipe.

I liked this book very much. It gives a overview of the Italian cuisine by regions. The recipes are very traditional and typical of the areas they come from. I also love the old pictures of people, places, and dishes that bring back the atmosphere of Italy in the 1960s.

Browsing through the book I found a recipe for lemon rice that looked interesting and I made it already on the following day. The dish comes from Piedmont and could not be simpler and more delicious. It is similar to risotto but does not require so much stirring. It instantly became my kids' favorite. I alternate it with a classic risotto which I make almost every week.

As I have been cooking this dish often I made already a few changes to the simplest recipe. I substituted one egg with cream which made this dish less eggy in taste and more creamy. I also add fresh parsley and, recently, also fresh herbs available from my garden--chives, marjoram, oregano, or thyme.

Lemon Rice
(Serves four)

1 cup short grain rice, preferably, risotto type,
2 tbsp unsalted butter,
2 large eggs,
1/4 cup table cream,
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese,
4 tsp lemon juice,
1 tbsp parsley,
1 tbsp mixed fresh herbs of your choice,
black pepper to taste.

1. In a large pot, bring to boil about 6 cups of water with 1 tbsp of salt.
2. When water boils add rice. Do it slowly, so that water still boils. Stir, reduce the heat, and let boil for about 15 minutes, until rice is tender.
3. In a medium bowl beat eggs with cream, and, when they are well combined, add lemon juice, Parmesan and herbs, if used.

4. In a large heavy duty pot, melt the butter over a low heat. When rice is ready drain it and add immediately to the pot with butter. Mix well.
5. Pour in eggs mixture to the rice. Stir and cook over low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring gently. When rice is creamy serve immediately, season with freshly ground black pepper, and serve accompanied by green salad.

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