Risotto with Crab and Lemon

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Lemon zest and juice add a bright note to this risotto, which is laced with sweet crabmeat. Be sure to zest the lemons first and then juice them.


  • 2 cups chicken broth  
  • 2 green onions, white and light green portions minced and dark green tops reserved  
  • 3 cups water 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil  
  • 2 cups Arborio rice  
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 1/2 lb. fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for shell fragments 
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons 
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter  


Heat the broth
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the broth, dark green onion tops and 2 cups of the water. Bring to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat.

Cook the rice
In a large fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the minced green onions and cook until the onions begin to sizzle. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until all the grains are well coated, about 2 minutes. Strain all of the broth mixture over the rice.

Return the saucepan to low heat, add the remaining 1 cup water to it and bring to a gentle simmer. Season the rice with the salt and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the liquid is nearly absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Adjust the heat to maintain an active simmer, not a rapid boil.

Set the crabmeat out at room temperature.

Finish the risotto
When the level of the liquid in the fry pan drops below the surface of the rice, taste a few grains; they should be tender but still firm to the bite, and the rice should be creamy. If the rice is still underdone, add 1/2 cup of the simmering water. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes more and taste again. Gently stir in the crabmeat, lemon zest, lemon juice and the remaining 1/2 cup simmering water. Cook until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stir in the butter and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Seafood, by Jay Harlow (Oxmoor House, 2007).

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