Savory Sounds: Grapefruit Risotto

If you live in the Northern hemisphere, February can be rough. Beyond the Hallmark holidays and the snow flurries, there’s your body. If you listen to it, it’ll whine for comfort food. But it also needs nutrients. Then there’s your head telling you to go for the gold, get the biscuits n’ gravy. Trying not to be so Manichaean, I added some soul into the mind-body mix.

There was a recipe for grapefruit risotto hiding away in my archives, so I got to work and put on my friend Psalm One’s new album: Hug Life by Hologram Kizzie. Psalm’s independent artistic project, Hologram Kizzie, is civically and socially conscious, rapping about everything from food politics to what it’s like having your own voice in an industry that’s constantly trying to change you. At the same time, it has one-liners that have already become crowd favorites. Hug Life is about more than music, it’s about “…sticking with what excites you, that stuff you lose sleep over, the things that keep you awake in bed at night,” as Kizzie said during her album release party at Hideout. The production melds each track like tiles on a floor connecting old school and modern hip hop. Show You Suck, ProbCause, and Young Josh of Flosstradamus are just a few of the other artists supporting Kizzie on Hug Life.

Grapefruit risotto is light, and tropical if you substitute coconut milk for crème fraîche. It sticks to the ribs in a clean way, like morning dew on an aloe vera plant. There’s no better way to embrace life than by turning a classic Italian risotto into a tangy, sweet, and sour taste explosion. Hug life by being kind to your body, feeding your soul, and exercising your mind with intricate rhymes. Hug Life was released under Bonafyde Media, a Chicago-based label.

Grapefruit Citrus Risotto (adopted from Zuni Cafe Cookbook)


  • 2 medium grapefruits
  • 2 medium lemons or limes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • Salt, ground cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 3 3/4 – 5 cups vegetable broth
  • Generous 1/4 cup crème fraîche or coconut milk
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced thinly lengthwise


1. Start by preparing the citrus. Slice off the top and bottom ends of the grapefruits and lemons. Place the citrus on end, slicing away the citrus skin and pith. Add broken wedges to the juice as you remove them. Once you have removed all of the citrus wedges, squeeze the leftover pulp over the bowl to collect any additional juices.

2. Heat the butter over medium-low heat in a deep sauté pan. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring regularly, until onions are translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the onions so that they don’t start to brown.

3. Stir in the Arborio rice, coating with butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until rice is warm.

4. Add two cups of vegetable broth, and turn up the heat to medium in order to maintain a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally. Once most of the broth is absorbed, add another cup. Salt to taste. Add another 3/4 cup vegetable broth, and stir occasionally until broth is just absorbed.

5. Add citrus wedges and citrus juices to risotto, breaking up wedges with your spoon. Stir occassionally as the juices absorb. If the rice is still not done, continue to add broth, 1/4 cup at a time, until rice is al dente.

6. Remove from heat and stir in crème fraîche. Garnish with thin avocado slices and serve immediately.


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