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Saturday
May212011

Tuesday Spring Risotto with Shrimp

After a super busy day in labor and delivery this dinner was better than valium for taking all my cares away.  Modified from the award winning risotto recipe on food52.com.  Maddy had made this recipe previously and knew that the lack of Pernod and preserved lemon had no detrimental effect on the finished product. 

for the risotto:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • kosher salt to taste 
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine (subbed for Pernod) 
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 6-8 cups hot chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  •   
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 2-inch lengths and blanched in salted, boiling water
  • freshly ground pepper

for the shrimp:

  • 24 to 32 large shrimp, shelled  
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  •  
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • zest of half a large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a shallow pan just large enough to hold the shrimp, mix the shrimp with the oil, garlic, zest, rosemary, salt and pepper. Let the shrimp marinate at room temperature while you make the risotto.
  2. Prepare all of your risotto ingredients: blanch the asparagus, heat the stock, chop and measure everything out, placing it all close to hand by the stove. Once you start stirring risotto, there’s no stopping.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and sweat over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Season with salt about halfway through.
  4. Add the rice and raise the heat to medium high. Stir to coat and slightly toast the rice for about 3 minutes. You should hear a lively crackling in the pot. The rice will take on a shiny, translucent coat. 
  5. Add the white wine and lemon juice to the rice and continue stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
  6. Add a ladleful of hot stock to the rice and continue stirring. It’s important to regulate the heat at this point. The rice should neither boil vigorously nor cook too slowly. You’re looking for an even, medium heat that gives the rice a billowy loft and brings some bubbles to the surface.
  7. As the stock is absorbed, continue adding it by ladlefuls and stirring. If you watch carefully, you’ll see that toward the end the rice really gives itself over to the liquid, releasing its starch to make a kind of cream. Stop incorporating stock once the rice is creamy but still al dente, cooked but not too soft. This can take between 20 and 30 minutes, and between 6 and 8 cups of stock.
  8. Remove the risotto from the heat, and immediately fold in the butter, mascarpone, several grinds of white pepper and most of the mint (save some for garnish).  Stir slowly to blend, check a final time for seasoning, and carefully fold in the asparagus. Put a lid on the risotto and let it rest while you quickly grill the shrimp. 
  9. Grill or broil the shrimp for about 60 seconds on each side, or until the flesh is completely opaque.
  10. Top each serving of risotto with 4 shrimp, garnish with mint and a flourish of pepper, and serve.