Meyer Lemon Risotto with Butternut Squash Soup

Before Shawn and I moved in with my parents, we lived in a house on the other end of town.  In our backyard we had a Meyer lemon tree.  I loved that tree more than the house itself.  Everything I made had Meyer lemon in it; it was heavenly.

Meyer Lemon

Green Apple
Butternut Squash

Meyer lemon, for those who don’t know, are a much smaller, slightly sweeter lemon.  It’s skin is much thinner, and it tastes slightly like a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange.  They are fantastic in desserts, and have such a distinct taste they really serve best as the star of a dish.  They have a beautiful, bright yellow color and are incredibly fragrant.

Meyer Lemon Zest and Juice
Meyer Lemon Risotto

This Meyer lemon risotto is so incredibly delicious.  Rich and creamy and decadent yet still fairly light.  The lemon adds a real brightness to the risotto and keeps from weighing it down.  I love risottos.  They seem very fancy, very gourmet, but they’re actually quite easy to make.  You just have to have the time to stand in front of the stove and stir it constantly as required.  Risottos generally call for Arborio rice. 

Arborio Rice

Arborio rice is a short, wide and flat grain that gives very well to the creaminess of the risotto; but a regular short grain white rice will work just fine if you don’t have access to Arborio.  The risotto gets it’s creaminess from two places; the slow simmering of the rice and the addition of cheese (Parmesan in this case).  It comes out so soft, so smooth, so completely delicious, you’ll never want to eat rice in any other way again.  In this particular dish, the Meyer lemon just jumps out at you, but without ever being to sour.

Butternut Squash Soup with Spices
Butternut Squash, Quince and Apple Soup

I wanted a soup to go with the risotto.  Something light and flavorful but wouldn’t upstage the main dish.  I came up with an idea for a butternut squash, quince and green apple soup.  The sweetness of the butternut squash, the tart of the apple, the brightness of the quince, pureed together and seasoned with paprika, cinnamon and cumin.  Quince is a very interesting fruit; starchy like a potato and tastes like a cross between an apple and a lemon.  Very fresh and subtle flavor and works wonderfully in apple dishes.  The soup came out to the consistency of applesauce, which worked just fine for me, but if you wanted a thinner, soupier consistency, you could always increase the amount of broth in it.

I’m not going to lie, I really miss that Meyer lemon tree. I’ve had thoughts about sneaking into the backyard and “borrowing” some, but I’m pretty sure that’s considered breaking and entering.  Or, in my case, “baking and entering”.  Ugh.  That was really bad.  I’ll stop now while you’re still reading


Meyer Lemon Risotto

Meyer Lemon Risotto

5 cups chicken broth

3 Tbsp. butter, divided

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice

2 cups white wine

1 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped

1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice

3 Tbsp. Meyer lemon zest

salt and pepper to taste

Simmer broth in a small saucepan over low heat and cover to keep warm.  Melt 1 1/2 Tbsp. of butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and brown.  Add rice and stir to coat for 1 minute.  Add white wine and stir constantly until wine has evaporated.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the broth to the rice and simmer, stirring constantly until the broth is absorbed.  Repeat, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time, until the broth is all used and rice is cooked through and creamy, only adding more broth once everything is absorbed.  Stir in Parmesan cheese and remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. of butter.  Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and herbs.  Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

Butternut Squash, Quince and Apple Soup

2 Tbsp. butter

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 butternut squash, diced

1 quince, peeled and diced

3 green apples, peeled and diced

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground paprika

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

heavy cream

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and carrots and cook until garlic is brown and carrots are slightly tender.  Add squash, quince, apples, broth and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.  Transfer soup to a blender, 1 1/2 cups at a time, and puree until smooth.  Add spices and mix to incorporate.  Ladle into serving bowls and drizzle heavy cream over top.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

  • Anna @ the shady pine

    The risotto looks delicious and there’s nothing like that lemon acidity to cut through all that creaminess. I look forward to reading more of your blog :)

    • thehumblegourmet

      Thanks Anna!

  • Glenda bell

    I love risotto just can,t handle the cheese is there a way to make it without the cheese but still retain the consistency ? Soup sound delish.

    • thehumblegourmet

      You could add a creamier veggie to it, like mashed artichoke hearts. That would help the consistency without needing cheese :-)

  • Lemon

    How lovely, this risotto must taste delicious.

  • Lemon

    How lovely, this risotto must taste delicious.