Monday, December 5, 2011

Aubergine & Lemon Risotto

Aubergine & Lemon Risotto 3

Oh, hello blog - remember me?!  Sad to say, that while I have been busying myself over the last few weeks with major kitchen renovations and the opening of my new yoga school, my poor blog has been suffering from extreme neglect.  Although I have in that time managed to cook several dishes that I want to share with you, actually getting that translated into posts just doesn't seem to have happened.  Time to rectify that!

I am mad for aubergine at the best of times, and I've really been using it a lot lately - grilled on the barbeque, stuffed (post coming soon I promise), in moussaka, and in salads.  One of my favourites has been this aubergine and lemon risotto, unsurprisingly from one of my favourite cookbooks Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi.  The lemon complements the aubergine perfectly, and adds that note of brightness and freshness that transforms this from the wintery comfort food role with which we normally associate risotto into a lighter more summery dish.

Now, since I'm anxious that this post shouldn't spend yet another month languishing in draft, I'm getting straight onto sharing the recipe with you without any further preamble.

Aubergine & Lemon Risotto 2 

Aubergine & Lemon Risotto Recipe
Adapted from recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi from
Makes 3 generous servings
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

2 medium aubergine
olive oil
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 generous handfuls arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
3 to 4 cups vegetable stock, hot
1 large lemon, grated zest & juice
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup mascarpone
1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
generous handful fresh basil leaves, shredded

Using a sharp knife, pierce the skin of one of the aubergine in several places.  Place on a foil-lined baking tray, and put into the oven under a hot grill until the skin has blackened and the flesh appears to have collapsed and deflated.  Keep an eye on it, turning the aubergine over several times;  it will take between 30 minutes and 1 hour.  Remove from the oven.  Once the aubergine is cool enough to handle, make a lengthwise cut through the skin;  scoop out the flesh, chop it roughly and discard the skin.  Set aside.

Return your oven to its regular baking function, and heat to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F).

Cut the other aubergine into large dice, toss generously with olive oil, and spread in a single layer in a shallow, parchment lined baking dish.  Season liberally with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Put into the hot oven and bake until the aubergine pieces are golden brown and cooked through.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Set a heavy based pan over medium heat, and add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the shallot and garlic to the pan - cooking until the shallot and garlic just begin to soften - take care not to burn the garlic - almost as soon as you can smell the garlic it is time to add the rice to the pan.  Continue cooking the rice with the shallot and garlic, stirring constantly, until every single grain of rice is coated with the oil - it will take on a kind of translucent look around the edges and will start to "squeak".

Now is the time to add the wine, and continue stirring until virtually all the wine has been absorbed by the rice.  Then begin to add the stock, one ladleful at a time - stirring constantly until each ladleful has been absorbed before adding the next. The rice will swell up considerably as it absorbs the stock, and once the rice is cooked through, remove the pan from the heat.

Add half of the grated lemon zest, the lemon juice, the soft flesh that you scooped out of the blackened aubergine, butter, mascarpone, and half of the parmesan.  Also add a generous pinch of flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Stir well, cover the pan, and set aside for about 5 minutes for all the flavours to infuse.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or lemon juice as necessary.

Spoon the risotto into serving bowls, sprinkle over the golden cubes of oven-baked aubergine, the remaining Parmesan and lemon zest, and the basil.

 Ms. enPlace  


  1. Well even though you call it something pretty, aubergine, it's still eggplant to me. The risotto sounds delightful, though!

  2. Beautiful! I love lemon risotto and after a childhood of hating eggplant, I'm coming around to it. Grilled is my favorite.

  3. El arroz se ve muy bien.
    Que te vaya bonito con tu nueva escuela de yoga.
    Un saludito

  4. I am mad for aubergines too, interesting to see someone in New Zealand who uses the word aubergine instead of eggplant!

    Are you going to post some photos of your renovated kitchen? :-)
    All the best for the yoga school too!


  5. Delicious! I have heard rumours of aubergine risotto with it puree'd through, making the risotto all creamy and delicious. But the textural amazingness of soft-but-crunchy-on-the-corners aubergine would be amazing! My tummy is rumbling...

  6. I've wondered how you've been. Congrats on the yoga school. I think eggplant adds such a nice touch to rice dish. Did I hear renovated kitchen? That's always fun.

  7. Your risotto looks divine! I'm a sucker for aubergine, love the colour and texture. Best wishes for new kitchen adventures!

  8. Looks like a lovely dish - I love aubergine (eggplant sounds so ugly!) and the addition of lemon sounds delicious. My sister does a lovely baked aubergine risotto so I will try both hers and yours. Good luck with your yoga school!

  9. @Pam
    Hi Pam - most people call it eggplant here too, but I just love the sound of aubergine :-)

  10. @MM
    Thanks for stopping by MM. This dish is actually a great way of introducing aubergine to those who might be a bit dubious about it :-)

  11. @Alessandra
    Don't know why I've always called them aubergine - just love the sound of it so much more than eggplant. I also often think of them as brinjal - my grandmother came from India, and when I was growing up they were always called brinjal in our house.
    Yes kitchen photos will get posted soon - just waiting for the flooring and the splashback tiling to be done.

  12. @Love, Mags
    You're absolutely right - the softened aubergine pulp stirred through the risotto gives it a lovely unctiousness and creaminess, and the roasted aubergine sprinkled over the top gives lovely textural contrast.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog - it's lovely to meet you :-)

  13. @angela@spinachtiger
    Thanks, Angela. It's lovely to hear from you. Yes, definitely loving the new kitchen :-)

    Thanks so much. I always buy more aubergine than I need, just because I love having them in my fruit bowl, they're so beautiful :-)

  15. @Lesley
    Thanks Lesley - I think the addition of the lemon really makes this dish, and the bit of mascarpone adds to the lemony zing as well :-)

  16. This is beautiful. Now that aubergines are becoming more plentiful I've been meaning to try that risotto. Congratulations on opening your yoga school, all the best!

  17. Thanks for linking up! I've been thinking about this risotto since I saw it yesterday.

  18. Thanks for sharing this.
    I don't know if you relate to this but sometimes, one look at a recipe and you know it belongs on your table. This recipe does that for me.

  19. I absolutely love this recipe. I still haven't tried out any Ottolenghi recipes, but every one I see looks incredible. Such fresh flavors!


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