Strawberry Summer Risotto

From our Hands-On Cooking Class, with Visiting Chef Nani Steele!


Inspired by a book of summer recipes from Italy, this savory strawberry risotto is surprisingly delicious, not at all cloying as one might suspect. The berries impart a pleasant tannic quality, as in wine-like, staining the risotto a pale rose color. Rice is traditional, but this is also delicious made with farro, an ancient wheat grain popular in Italy.

Recipe Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 ¼ cups arborio rice or farro
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Salt
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 ¼ cups strawberries, plus more for garnish
  • 4 cups light chicken or vegetable stock or water, kept at a simmer
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Grana Padano cheese, for grating


  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium skillet.
  • Stir in the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the rice, thyme, and a pinch of salt and cook for 1 minute; add the wine and half the berries.
  • Cook until the wine is almost evaporated.
  • Gradually add ½ cup simmering stock, stirring until the stock is fully incorporated.
  • Repeat with the remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, cooking until the rice is al dente, about 30 minutes overall.
  • Add the crème fraîche and lemon zest towards the end, stirring vigorously until incorporated and the rice is creamy.
  • Stir in the remaining strawberries and cook for 1 minute.
  • Season to taste with more salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
  • Divide the risotto among 4 bowls and grate cheese over each serving.
  • Garnish each with a few fresh berries, if desired, and a bit more fresh thyme to finish.

Nani Steele is one of our featured guests during our Culinary Week, La Fiesta De La Cocina Que Canta, during September 28 – October 5, 2013, along with other celebrated chefs Deborah Madison, John Ash and Marie Simmons!

You can read more about Chef Nani Steele’s cooking class at The Ranch here

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