Finely chop the celery, carrot, and onion.
Heat a medium saucepan and add the butter. Saute the vegetables for about 5 minutes, but do not color.
Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until golden, approximately 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Pour in the broth, salt & pepper, and bay leaf. Give it a quick stir.
Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cover and barely simmer on low heat. Don't stir. Cook for 20 minutes, or however long your rice states on the package, then check for doneness. Tilt the pot and see if there is still liquid to the side. If so, cook for another few minutes. If there is just a little moisture throughout, let sit covered. If you see holes in the rice when you lift the lid, it's done.
Taste rice and adjust seasonings. Remove the bay leaf and add parsley and lemon zest, if using. Fluff with a fork and serve.