Recipe: Preserved Lemon & Spinach Risotto with Basil Blaze by Chef Adam Pile (Lucca at Boca Raton Resort & Club), Boca Raton, FL


Preserved Lemon and Spinach Risotto

Courtesy of Boca Raton Resort & Club’s Chef Adam Pile at Lucca Restaurant

Serves six



¼ cup olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

6 bay leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 cups vialone nano risotto or superfine aborio risotto from Italy

25 ounces (750 ml) dry white wine

1 cup hot chicken broth or stock (may also use fish stock if you wish to add seafood or water)

4 tablespoons sweet butter

2 cups triple-washed fresh baby spinach, chiffonade

1 preserved lemon, chopped fine

freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste (see Note below)

sea salt and white pepper, to taste


Note: for home/weight-loss preparation, the olive oil has been reduced from ½ cup and the butter has been reduced from 8 ounces.


  1. Heat oil in heavy bottomed stainless-steel stockpot. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add bay leaves, thyme and risotto and stir thru to coat risotto well; cook over medium heat till risotto seals and starts to become sticky.
  3. Add wine and stir until all wine evaporates or is absorbed into rice.
  4. Then slowly begin to add chicken stock, water, or fish stock, and continue stirring the whole time until risotto is creamy and cooked to al dente. You should have three parts liquid to one part rice.
  5. To finish risotto stir in butter, all the spinach, and ½ of the preserved chopped lemon; stir to mix together well off the heat.
  6. Taste and add salt and pepper, to taste; add more lemon if needed.
  7. Serve with optional garnish of 1 teaspoon Basil Blaze and freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste.
Nutrition Facts (by serving)
Calories 461
Calories from fat 33%
Fat (grams) 17
Saturated fat (grams) 6
Cholesterol (milligrams) 20
Carbohydrates (grams) 64
Protein (grams) 6
Sodium (milligrams) 793
Fiber (grams) 3


Note: Imported parmesan from Italy contains approximately 111 calories per ounce in solid form. When grated, the result is approximately 22 calories per teaspoon.



Basil Blaze

Yields approximately 12 ounces



1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup basil leaves

2 cloves garlic

salt and pepper, to taste


Puree in a blender until smooth. Note: this can also be used to accompany meat, poultry, and seafood dishes.


Nutrition Facts (by serving) per tablespoon (1/2 ounce)
Calories 81
Calories from fat 99%
Fat (grams) 9
Saturated fat (grams) 1
Cholesterol (milligrams) 0
Carbohydrates (grams) 0
Protein (grams) 0
Sodium (milligrams) 7
Fiber (grams) 0


About Fred Bollaci

I'm CEO and President of Fred Bollaci Enterprises. I lost more than 100 pounds while living "La Dolce Vita" and I'm now known as "The Healthy Gourmet." Sample the good life with me through fitness, fine food, and good wine. Meet chefs who cater to a healthy gourmet lifestyle through my Golden Palate blog.
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