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Lovely Lavender Risotto
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Lovely Lavender Risotto

We’re loving this Lavender & Rosemary Risotto from Liguria, The Cookbook by Laurel Evans. Although lavender is best known as a fragrance, the versatile plant also boasts a myriad of culinary uses and can be quite useful kitchen companion. Its sweet, fragrant flavor complements a range of foods, both sweet and savory, but not all lavender should be used in cooking. Culinary lavender from Lavandula angustifolia plants (commonly known as English lavender) contains less oil than the aromatic lavender used in perfumes or soaps, and is therefore less potent and sweeter. 

The lavender harvest is in full swing at Agricola Filippone, an organic family farm in Sicily’s pristine Madonie Natural Park. They grow organic Italian herbs with great care, following strict sustainability standards while preserving local food traditions. Their panoramic farm sits at 3,281 feet above sea level, where the herbs are grown in the Sicilian sunshine, harvested by hand and dried in open air. The elevation and nutrient content of the soil creates the perfect growing environment for top-quality, fragrant and flavorful herbs. Their organic, dried lavender makes a beautiful garnish for salads, desserts, and more. Toss into a salad to add a pop of color, sprinkle over ice cream, mix into honey, add to a glass of sparkling wine, or use it to decorate a romantic cake. 

We have everything you need to make this beautiful risotto: organic Sicilian lavender and rosemary, beautiful Carnaroli or Arborio rice by Gli Aironi, and even Liguria, The Cookbook for this and other authentic northern Italian recipes. 

Lavender and Rosemary Risotto

  • 5 to 7 cups low-sodium light beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 shallots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 2 teaspoons minced rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon minced, dried lavender
  • 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1⁄2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1⁄2 cup, packed)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried lavender flowers, for garnish

Serves 4 to 6

Bring the broth to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat; lower flame to maintain a slow simmer. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy, wide saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add shallots and sauté, stirring constantly, until translucent but not yet golden.

Add the rice, rosemary, and lavender; cook, stirring constantly, until rice is hot to the touch and no longer opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it has absorbed, about 3 minutes. Stir in a ladleful of broth and cook, stirring often, until broth is mostly absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue to add the broth, one or two ladlesful at a time, stirring until absorbed. Try to keep rice submerged under a thin layer of broth at all times (this is to ensure all the grains cook evenly). Adjust heat to between medium and medium-low to keep the risotto barely simmering. Cook, stirring often, until rice is just tender but still al dente (not mushy). The risotto should have the consistency of a creamy porridge and move in slow waves when you shake the pan, but it should not be soupy. Remove from heat, add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon zest, and juice; stir until creamy and well combined.

Divide between individual warm plates, decorate with lavender flowers, and serve immediately with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.



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