Grapefruit & Lemon Risotto

January 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Citrus Risotto 3

I’ve had a ton of citrus around the house lately. I got a bag of grapefruits as a holiday gift, impulse purchased a bag of tangerines that I couldn’t possibly finish myself, and my boyfriend has been on a lemon-orange juice kick lately. All this citrus reminded me of a risotto I made a few years back for my mom’s birthday, and I figured I might as well embrace the citrus trend while it lasted!

I understand, you might be skeptical about grapefruit risotto, but this recipe is lovely. The grapefruit and lemon give the risotto a light and fresh quality , and the avocado complements the citrus perfectly. I ate it as a main course, but it would also make a nice side dish.

Peeled Citrus

Citrus Wedges 3

One important note before you get going: taste your grapefruit before you add it to the risotto. I made this risotto twice this week because I failed to taste my grapefruit first. The grapefruits I used in the first batch happened to be extremely bitter, and the resulting  risotto was unsalvagable. A normal amount of bitterness is fine, but if you wouldn’t eat your grapefruit raw, don’t put in the risotto! Just take a tiny taste fruit as you are removing it from the pulp, and hopefully you can avoid this predicament!

Grapefruit Risotto Stovetop

Grapefruit & Lemon Risotto (adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook)


  • 2 medium grapefruits (remember to taste to make sure grapefruits aren’t too bitter)
  • 2 medium lemons (I suggest Eureka, rather than Meyer, lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • Salt
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 3 3/4 – 5 cups vegetable broth ( my current favorite is “No-Chicken Broth”)
  • Generous 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced thinly lengthwise (slice just before serving to prevent browning)

Start by preparing the citrus. Slice off the top and bottom ends of the grapefruits and lemons, exposing the fruit flesh below the skin. Place the citrus on end. Working from top to bottom, slice away the citrus skin and pith, again exposing the citrus flesh. Once you have removed the skin and pith from both grapefruits and both lemons, you can begin to remove the fruit flesh from the inner membranes. Hold a single grapefruit or lemon in one hand, over a medium-sized bowl. Using a small knife, remove citrus wedges by slicing close to the membrane on either side of each wedge. As you work, you will collect juice in the bowl. Add wedges to the juice as you remove them. Don’t worry if the wedges break as you work. Once you have removed all of the citrus wedges, squeeze the leftover pulp over the bowl to collect any additional juices.

Heat the butter over medium-low heat in a deep sauté pan. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring regularly, until onions are translucent. This should take approximately 5 minutes, but keep an eye on the onions so that they don’t start to brown. Stir in the Arborio rice, coating with butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until rice is warm.

Add two cups of vegetable broth, and turn up the heat just slightly, not higher than medium, in order to maintain a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally, allowing rice to absorb broth. Once most of the broth in absorbed, add another cup. Taste risotto, and add a few pinches of salt if needed. Add another 3/4 cup vegetable broth, and stir occasionally until broth is just absorbed.

Add citrus wedges and citrus juices to risotto, breaking up wedges with your spoon as you stir them in. Stir occassionally as the juices absorb, and taste again for salt and doneness. If the rice is still very firm, add another 1/4 cup broth. If your citrus was especially juicy, this may not be necessary. Once the broth is just absorbed, taste again. If the rice is still not done, continue to add broth, one tablespoon at a time, until rice is al dente. Once the rice is done, and the broth and juices are just absorbed, remove from heat and stir in the crème fraîche. Garnish with three thin avocado slices, and serve immediately.

Grapefruit Risotto 1


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