Food & Drink Magazine

Spring Has Sprung! Creamy Shrimp & Asparagus Risotto with Lemon Zest

By Weavethousandflavors

Asparagus & shrimp risotto-1

I must admit, 9 times out of 10 I'm feeling pretty good about the way a photo turns out. I'm not saying there aren't thousands of peeps out there with far better food photography skills because there truly are, but I'm okay with that.

This isn't one of those times. I'm looking at my pic as I write this and feel like my risotto deserves a full blown apology from me. Poor risotto!

The truth of the matter is that if you take away my sub par photography skills for just a moment, you'll be left with just the dish. And as dishes go, this one is marvelous. But there are some tricks to getting a risotto just right. And I mean any risotto.

First, forget Arborio rice! Whhhhaaaaatttt!

Trust me, I just finished teaching a few sessions of risotto classes and everyone agreed hands down, Vialone Nano riso from Veneto wins hands down! You'll be able to get that lovely creamy risotto texture that we all aspire for as well as the flavors reaching into the very core of the rice.

Step 2, toast the rice. And that involves, sauteing with onions, shallots whatever.

Step 3, adding liquids - some vino and then ladle after ladle of stock which involves stirring.

Yes, there is stirring involved, I cannot lie but that's it. If you can stir and spend about 40 minutes from start to finish, you can make awesome risotto. So yes, you'll have to step away from House of Cards for a bit but so what!

Did I mention, risotto with shrimp and asparagus?

And if that itself is not mouthwatering & 'springy' enough for you, think lovely lemon zest and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for an elegant finish.

So don't let Spring get away from you and make this gorgeous risotto while succulent asparagus spears beckon!

Gather the ingredients,

For the stock: 6 cups good quality chicken stock, 1 small yellow onion, 3 sprigs thyme &  1 stick celery

Risotto: 2 cups Vialone Nano rice (from Venetto), 3/4 lb shrimp, shelled and de-veined, 3/4 lb fresh asparagus, 1 tbs butter to sauté asparagus, 2 shallots, very finely chopped (minced), 3 cloves garlic, peeled, 2 tbs fresh thyme leaves, 1 lemon (do not omit), 2 tbs olive oil, 2 tbs unsalted butter, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 cup dry white wine like a Pinot Grigio (good quality - the same bottle you’ll have with dinner!)

To serve - shredded aged Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Shrimp asparagus risotto-collage1

Yellow onion & celery for stock: Peel and roughly dice the onion. Cut the celery into circles.

Shallots: Peel the onions and discard the ends. Finely chop and set aside.

Asparagus: Snap the asparagus at the bottom. Cut the tender tips and reserved. Cut the lengths into 1" pieces.

Rice: Measure and set aside.

Method:

Bring the stock to boil with the coarsely chopped onion, celery, thyme for 15 minutes.

Sieve the stock, discarding the veggies and keep a metal ladle and a 1/2 cup measuring cup handy for the stock. 

Shrimp asparagus risotto-collage2

In a 10-inch, heavy bottom 3" deep, saute pan heat the olive oil & butter until the butter has melted.

Add the minced shallots, garlic & 1/2 tsp salt. Sauté the for approx. 7-10 minutes on medium heat until softened and translucent but not brown.

Add the thyme and rice and saute the rice to toast for about 5 minutes or so.

Add the white white wine & simmer to evaporate.

Shrimp asparagus risotto-collage3

Add 1/2 cup of the stock and stir with a wooden spoon turn the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly until the stock is absorbed.

From this point on, continue to add 1/2 cup of stock at a time, stir to cook rice, until the liquid is absorbed by the rice.

Continue this process over the next 30-40 minutes or so until you are down to the last 1/2 cup.

Add the shrimp and the last 1/2 cup of the stock and stir until the shrimp cooks and stock has been absorbed. Once you’ve reached the right consistency, add the cream and stir.

Cook’s Note: The rice should have a bit of bite to it and yet be creamy soft. You will need to keep ladling the stock & allowing the rice to absorb the liquid until you reach the right consistency and mouth feel for the rice.

Shrimp asparagus risotto-collage4

 

Meanwhile, saute the asparagus in a small saute pan in 1 tbs butter until glossy green and crunchy tender. Do not overcook.

Shrimp asparagus risotto-collage5

Add the sauteed asparagus  & taste and adjust the seasoning. Zest the lemon directly over the risotto, using a Microplane zester. Stir to combine.

Cover and rest the risotto for a few minutes before serving.

Serve immediately with a smattering of finely chopped parsley if desired and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese at the table with a glass of vino of course!

 

Asparagus & shrimp risotto-2

Recipe for

Creamy Shrimp & Asparagus Risotto

Serves 4-6

Shopping list

For the stock:

6 cups good quality chicken stock

1 small yellow onion

3 sprigs thyme

1 stick celery

For the risotto:

2 cups Vialone Nano rice (from Venetto)

3/4 lb shrimp, shelled and de-veined

3/4 lb fresh asparagus

1 tbs butter to sauté asparagus

2 shallots, very finely chopped (minced)

3 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tbs fresh thyme leaves

1 lemon (do not omit)

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup dry white wine like a Pinot Grigio (good quality - the same bottle you’ll have with dinner!)

To serve - shredded aged Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Preparation:

Yellow onion & celery for stock: Peel and roughly dice the onion. Cut the celery into circles.

Shallots: Peel the onions and discard the ends. Finely chop and set aside.

Asparagus: Snap the asparagus at the bottom. Cut the tender tips and reserved. Cut the lengths into 1" pieces.

Rice: Measure and set aside.

Method:

Bring the stock to boil with the coarsely chopped onion, celery, thyme for 15 minutes.

Sieve the stock, discarding the veggies and keep a metal ladle and a 1/2 cup measuring cup handy for the stock. 

In a 10-inch, heavy bottom 3" deep, saute pan heat the olive oil & butter until the butter has melted.

Add the minced shallots, garlic & 1/2 tsp salt. Sauté the for approx. 7-10 minutes on medium heat until softened and translucent but not brown.

Add the thyme and rice and saute the rice to toast for about 5 minutes or so.

Add the white white wine & simmer to evaporate

Add 1/2 cup of the stock and stir with a wooden spoon turn the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly until the stock is absorbed.

From this point on, continue to add 1/2 cup of stock at a time, stir to cook rice, until the liquid is absorbed by the rice.

Continue this process over the next 30-40 minutes or so until you are down to the last 1/2 cup.

Add the shrimp and the last 1/2 cup of the stock and stir until the shrimp cooks and stock has been absorbed. 

Cook’s Note: The rice should have a bit of bite to it and yet be creamy soft. You will need to keep ladling the stock & allowing the rice to absorb the liquid until you reach the right consistency and mouth feel for the rice.

Meanwhile, saute the asparagus in a small saute pan in 1 tbs butter until glossy green and crunchy tender. Do not overcook. Set aside until ready to use.

Once you’ve reached the right consistency, add the cream and stir. Add the sauteed asparagus  & taste and adjust the seasoning. Zest the lemon directly over the risotto, using a Microplane zester. Stir to combine.

Cover and rest the risotto for a few minutes before serving.

Serve immediately with a smattering of finely chopped parsley if desired and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese at the table with a glass of vino of course!

 


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