Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Shrimp and Pea Risotto

Risotto is a favorite of mine. To make at home. I rarely order this Italian dish in the restaurant scene due to its popularity for the home cooking. You're involved most of the time, but it's easy work. Work that can be done with a glass of wine in one hand and your long wooden spoon in the other. Scraping up the shaved parm reg that misses the intended plate/bowl, you have a lil preview of the deliciousness to come. It's not difficult, and the result of this light effort yields a rice with a bite that is slightly firm before giving way to the ultra creamy texture and tastiness.

The outcome of this one is simple- use good stock (homemade preferred of course) and high quality parm reg- you know the kind- it has letters on the rind that spell out parmigiano reggiano. If you do use store bought stock, don't get the cheapest stuff and get low-sodium if available, you can always add salt, it is much harder to go the other way.

This is not good food. This is shitty food. Do not use this.

Shrimp and Green Pea Risotto
4 servings

3-4 C chicken stock, homemade preferred
2 TB butter
1 small-medium onion, diced
1 C arborio rice
pinch saffron threads (optional)
1/2 C dry white wine
3/4 C freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, plus 2 TB
1 TB chopped fresh parsley (optional)
*3/4 lb. cooked shrimp, 26-30 size, or your preference
1/3-1/2 C cooked green peas

*Remove shell and tails from shrimpies, (my preference for buying shrimp is in the frozen state) then place in a bowl. Pat dry with paper towel, add a bit of oil and season with S&P. Saute over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side until just cooked through.

To keep your stock warm, place into a medium pot and utilize low heat on a back burner.

In that large, heavy skillet you cooked the shrimp in, melt the butter and then add the EVOO, over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, cook the onion for about 8 minutes, until nicely softened and smelling like cooking onions in butter smells like-heaven. Toss in a pinch of saffron if using. Add the rice and stir well to coat all sides of the grain with fat. Cook for about a minute, stirring a few times. Add the wine and stir well, scraping the bottom of the skillet, searching for any tasty bits that shouldn't be left behind. After a minute of reducing the wine, start adding the warm stock in 1/3 C increments. If you want to add less and stir more often, have at it. Some people don't like to make risotto because they think it needs to be constantly stirred for 20 minutes. Arborio rice isn't that needy, you just need to stir before and after each liquid addition, it can sit for a couple minutes untouched with a good simmer going. Depending on the aggressiveness of your simmer, cook time will be around 19-23 minutes.

Depending on how things go, you might use anywhere from 3-4 C of liquid, most of the time I am around 3 1/2 C. If you run out of stock and the rice is still not tender, you have no worries, just use a bit of hot water for the last 1/2 C or so.

Once the rice has reached it's magical point- tender, yet still with a bite and in oh-so-creamy-goodness land, remove from the heat. Hit it with some freshly cracked black pepper, a healthy pinch of kosher salt, stir in the 3/4 C freshly grated parm reg, and perhaps some parsley, if available. Stir in the shrimp and peas, mix well to rewarm everything nicely.

Serve up and then finish with a touch of parm reg. Mangia!

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