In recognition of International Women’s day, we chatted with Lisa Osman, founder of All Hallows’ Farmhouse Cookery School.

Anna Del Conte has always been a great inspiration in both her style of food, but also the incredible story that she shared in her autobiography ‘Risotto with Nettles.  Some people say that you shouldn’t meet your heroes.  This definitely wasn’t the case when I was fortunate enough to welcome Anna here to the farmhouse.   I love her ‘no nonsense’ approach, along with her lifetime of dedication to selecting the best seasonal ingredients.  All of which she will cook simply, always allowing the food to speak for itself.  Just like my impression of Anna.

‘Italian cooks are nosy’, the award-winning cookery writer once told me.  ‘They love to see what is happening in the pan, all of the time’.

There are so many of her recipes that I would love to share with you.  This particular favourite,  Risotto with Lemon, has a history of being lovingly passed from one cook to another (for the full story read Amaretto, Apple Cake and Artichokes).  It was taught to me by Anna’s daughter Julia.


Anna Del Conte’s Risotto Al Limone

To serve 3-4 you will need:

50 g unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots very finely chopped

1 celery sticky finely chopped

250 g  Italian Arborio rice – we like Carnaroli

1 litre vegetable stock or light chicken stock

1 organic lemon – washed,  zest removed and juice of half

5 or 6 sage leaves – finely chopped

1 sprig of rosemary – finely chopped

1 large free range egg yolk

4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

4 tablespoons double  (heavy) cream

Seasoning – ground sea salt and black pepper

Gently warm pan, add half the butter, oil, shallots and celery and cook until the soffritto is done (about 7 minutes).

Mix in the rice and continue cooking and stirring until it is well coated and partly translucent.  Re-heat stock.

When rice becomes shining and partly translucent, add about 300 ml of simmering stock.  Stir well, then add another small ladleful of hot stock.

Continue adding a ladle of hot stock at a time and stir until the rice is ready.

You may not need all the stock.  Good quality Italian rice will take about 20 minutes to cook.

When the rice is cooking, prepare the lemon and the herbs and add to the pan about halfway through cooking time.

In a small bowl, combine egg yolk, lemon juice, Parmesan, cream and a generous grinding of black pepper.   Mix well with a fork.

When risotto is al dente drawn the pan off heat.  Stir in egg and cream mixture with remaining butter.

Cover pan and leave to rest for 2 minutes.  Stir well and transfer to warm plates.  Serve at once with more grated Parmesan on the side.