Shrimp Risotto

IMG_0596My guys are out doing “guy” things (at the Sonoma NASCAR race); which means I won’t be cooking much this weekend. I’m catching up on some reading and enjoying the “down time” on my own. Little sandwiches, ice coffee and my feet up – yeah, this is nice. Quiet time.

Yet I did not want to fall behind – I’ve managed to post a new recipe nearly every day – with the occasional “catch up” days to have as many recipes posted each month as there are number of days each month. Yeah, big aspirations, I know. It’s not easy, especially when the blank page taunts me. Which explains a few “pluckings” from the past ensembles. My Shrimp Risotto was first featured as part of my Valentine’s Day Menu – For a Catholic Friday.

I love Risotto. It is so creamy, so delicious. Yeah, I know, a good risotto requires tending. But aren’t the end results worth the added effort? Another great pairing of risotto and seafood can be found in my Cajun Sea Scallops over New Orleans Style Risotto (warning – this is spicy!).

The Shrimp Risotto is mild and creamy. It can be garnished to dress it up or served “as is” for a simple setting. Small shrimp that has already been cooked is best. Just remember when adding the shrimp to the risotto all you need do is warm the shrimp – avoid over cooking!

Shrimp Risotto
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 finely chopped shallots
1 cup risotto rice, Arborio or Carnaroli
1/2 cup white wine
5 Cups (more or less) Shrimp or fish stock (you can substitute chicken stock)
1/2 cup chopped cooked shrimp
1 Tablespoon finely chopped dill or fennel fronds
1 Tablespoon finely chopped chives or the green parts of scallions
Zest of a lemon
Sea Salt

Chop shallots, set aside. Chop dill or fennel fronds, set aside. Chop chives or green scallions. Set aside.

In a heavy, medium-sized pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until it’s good and hot.

Add the chopped shallot and stir with a wooden spoon to cook without browning for another 3-4 minutes.

Add the uncooked rice and stir well with the wooden spoon. Coat the rice with the oil and shallot mixture and saute for a minute or two.

Sprinkle about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt over it all, then add the white wine and stir well. It will sputter at first, then settle into a good solid boil. Stir well.

When the wine is almost cooked away, start adding the seafood, fish or chicken stock. Ideally you would use shrimp stock, but the key here is to add flavor. Begin by adding about a 1/2 cup of stock, and stir it well to combine.

Continue to add stock in 1/2 cup additions and stir Risotto frequently. Let liquid almost cook away between additions, about 25 minutes total, or until rice is cooked al dente, still a bit firm.

Once you have the rice at a good consistency, turn the heat down to medium, add a touch more liquid (about 2 tablespoons), and then add the shrimp, the lemon zest and all but a about a teaspoon of the dill and chives. Stir well to combine.

To serve, either pile it free-form on the plate or pack it into a circle mold. Top with the remaining chopped herbs. If you do the circle mold trick, top the risotto with some delicacy, such as caviar or the sautéed cheeks from a cod or halibut or large striped bass. You could also put a whole shrimp on there or a shelled crab or lobster claw. Use your imagination!

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