Risotto under PHP200: An Italian Classic with a Lemony Twist

November 5, 2019

Risotto is often dismissed as a fancy-schmancy dish. But the truth is, the Italian specialty is a dish enjoyed by everyday households in Italy. We’re here to prove to you that making the creamy rice doesn’t have to break the bank; nor does it require the low-and-slow method that puts amateur cooks off. This recipe, which makes for two, only totals PHP158.20 per person, and it can be done in less than an hour.

Lemony Snicket’s favorite.

Our tip is to use local rice for this recipe—and any other rice dish for that matter—to support our farmers. While you’re at it, source your lemons and safflower from them, too. The lemons in this risotto take the dish to a whole other level of brightness. That said, the cheesy aftertaste cuts through it at the end, giving you a well-rounded balance of flavors.

Don’t worry if your risotto looks a bit too liquid-y after you take it off the heat. It’s supposed to fall onto your plate like that. After a while, it’s going to dry out a bit, giving you just the texture you’re looking for.

Lemon Risotto

  • Serves: 2 people
  • Active time: 45 mins
  • Total time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy



  • 8 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cube


  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. safflower
  • 2 cups rice, uncooked
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese + ¼ cup
  • ¼ cup butter
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper


  1. In a saucepan, add water and bouillon cube.
  2. Heat until the bouillon has dissolved, then let stock boil.
  3. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and keep warm.
  4. For the risotto, add oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  5. Add white onion and safflower, and cook slowly until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the rice and cook until slightly translucent and beginning to color.
  7. Add warm stock to the rice, ½ cup at a time, stirring until each ½ cup has been absorbed before putting in more liquid.
  8. Continue until all stock is used and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
  9. Turn heat off and stir in 1 cup parmesan cheese, butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  10. Season with salt to taste then serve immediately, garnishing with black pepper and reserved cheese.​
Jica Simpas Jica Simpas

Jica hopes that by writing about food she'll actually learn how to cook. But for now, she'll happily just eat everything—especially cookies.

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