Pantry cooking tip #24- Always have arborio rice or something similar on hand, you can make about ∞ versions of risotto. Spring to Fall, Winter to Spring, it's never out of style.
I like to purchase the frozen shrimp that you can pick yourself with the ice scoop in that large, clear plastic bin. Yes, I'm going to pay for the weight of the ice. That, to me, is worth the extra half dollar when it comes to choosing my own, and knowing how long they've been thawed.
As always, your taste buds will applaud you for choosing the very best ingredients- from really good parm-reg (with the stamp on the rind, of course) to your own much-loved homemade chicken stock. Or for this risotto, it was shrimp stock. It's easy to make, you just use the shells and tails from your peeled shrimp. Unless you make a shrimp cocktail for 25, it might take a couple purchases to have enough, just freeze em. Add the usual onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf, peppercorns, couple pieces smashed garlic, and maybe that parm-reg rind you've saved for just this purpose-it's simple. Buying shrimp with shell and tail on is always gonna yield tastier results. But yes, you can use chicken stock too as usual for this recipe. I like to keep chicken, shrimp, and lobster stock in the freezer in 2 C portions, always ready to lend a hand. It will take tails and shells from about 30-40 large shrimp to make 8 C shrimp stock, this recipe is even endorsed by Martha. All varieties can be frozen for 6 months.
Not speaking of beef stock, in the most helpful cooking magazine ever, Cook's Illustrated, a recent article discussed the best beef broth. Guess who won? (All I'm gonna say is that it's really made by Colavita, and it was rated very closely with College Inn.)
Shrimp, Pea Risotto
5 C shrimp stock
2 TB unsalted butter
1 TB EVOO
3/4 C yellow onion, fine dice
1.5 C arborio rice
3/4 C dry white wine (reserve of which you are currently drinking)
pinch saffron threads (if ya got em)
2 TB fresh parsley, chopped
3/4 C parm-reg, reserved
1/3 C cooked green peas
2 TB butter
1 ts garlic, minced
1/4 ts chili flake
1 lb. 20-4 size shrimp (or your preference, whatever look best)
1/4 C dry white wine
In a medium saucepan, keep the stock warm, just under a simmer.
For the shrimp-
In a medium skillet, melt the 2 TB butter over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, stir for thirty seconds, then add the shrimp by hand in an even layer. Cook for two minutes, or until shrimp start to turn pink. Flip, add the 1/4 C wine, cook for another two minutes or until cooked through. Do not overcook, unless you like your shrimp rubbery. Drain and reserve liquid.
For the risotto-
In a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the EVOO over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir thoroughly to coat each grain with some fat, about thirty secs. Add the saffron, if using, and then 1 C of the warm stock and stir constantly for 1 minute. The rice will take about 21 minutes to cook, you want to gradually add stock in 1/2 C increments. You don't have to stir the entire time, more like regularly. Don't rush when adding the stock- wait until most of the liquid from the previous addition has been absorbed. You may not need the entire 5 C of stock. Once the rice is tender and creamy with just a slight bite remaining, add the reserved cooking liquid, shrimp, parsley, 1/2 C parm-reg and peas, then turn the heat to low and stir it up to warm the shrimpies for about 3 minutes. Season to taste with S&P. Top with the remaining parm-reg and more parsley, if desired.
Buon Appetito, uhhh?