Strawberry Risotto & Grilled Rao’s-Style Lemon Chicken

Mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think…

Strawberry Risotto adapted from Recipes from an Italian Summer


4 cups vegetable stock
6 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
1 3/4 cups dry white wine
2 3/4 cups hulled strawberries
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper


1. Pour the stock into a pan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer.

2. Meanwhile, melt half the butter in another pan. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until it is softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until all the grains are coated with melted butter.

3. Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes, or until the alcohol has evaporated. Add a ladleful of the hot stock to the rice and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring until each addition has been absorbed. This will take 18-20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, set a few whole strawberries aside for the garnish and mash the remainder in a bowl. Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the mashed strawberries to the risotto. When it is almost ready, gently stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with the reserved whole strawberries.

Grilled Rao’s Lemon Chicken

Place cleaned, backbone removed chicken in a large zip bag and  blend all of the marinade ingredients add to the chicken, seal bag and massage the chicken, refrigerate to marinate, turning often.  You can grill the chicken or follow the recipe directions for the oven method,  I used a rotisserie basket and a drip pan for the grill, basting with reserved marinade roasted for about 1-1/2 hours, all burners set to medium to medium low temperature, follow your grill directions for appropriate heat adjustments and  cooking times.  This method is less tedious than the oven method and more flavorful since the chicken has been marinated for 1-1/2 – 2 hours.  I added fresh herbs to the marinade as well as the zest of the 1 lemon

reserve some of the marinade for basting the chicken if grilling the chicken
2  cups  fresh lemon juice
1   cup  olive oil, half of which is EVOO
1   tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon  dried oregano, plus about a tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  1 sprig fresh thyme leaves, minced
  pinches of red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste.
2-2-1/2-3 lb  chickens, halved
1/4  cup  chopped Italian Parsley
Whisk the marinade ingredients, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To attain maximum heat, preheat broiler for at least 15 minutes before using.  broil chicken halves, turning once for about 30 minutes or until skin is golden-brown and juices run clear when bird is pierced with a fork.  Remove chicken from broiler, leaving broiler on.  Using a very sharp knife, cut each half into about 6 pieces (leg, thigh, wing, 3 small breast pieces.  Place chicken on a baking sheet with sides, of a size that can fit into the broiler,  Pour Lemon Sauce over chicken and toss to coat well.  If necessary, divide sauce in half and do this in two batches.  Return to broiler and broil for 3 minutes.  Turn each piece and broil for another minute.  Remove from broiler and portion each chicken onto 6 warm serving plates.  Or put chicken on a large platter.  Pour sauce into a heavy saucepan.  Stir in parsley and place over high heat for at least a minute…Pour over chicken and serve with lots of crusty bread to absorb the sauce.