Sunday, May 22, 2011

Asparagus, Pea and Saffron Risotto (With or Without Shrimp)

What I have truly come to appreciate about having a food blog is challenging myself to learn cooking techniques that have forever altered my previous food path of buying boxed mixes and frozen prepared foods. Amen.  With that said, I have developed some food shopping compulsions habits that can make my grocery bill sky-rocket faster than the price of gasoline. Seriously. I have an array of  exotic condiments and baking doo-dads that I bought, with a specific mission in mind.  Then, my recipe attention deficit disorder kicks in, and I make something entirely different. (I'moutofbreathfromthatreallylongandrunonsentence!)

Therefore, my garage freezer and pantry runneth over. This is when I step into my home "Iron Chef Mode".  Instead of relying on an ingredients list for a new recipe, I'm doing the reverse.  Based on what I have on hand, determines what's next on the menu at home.  I need to shop at home, first, because I don't want to become a food hoarder!  I spotted this recipe on "Quinces and the Pea", and I loved the color of the risotto. Making a mental grocery list, I realized I had everything to make this. I had a few asparagus spears in my fridge.

I had a box of unopened Carnaroli rice, and a few opened bottles of white wine in the fridge. Somewhere in the freezer, I recalled seeing a few large shrimp (is that an oxymoron?).  My cheese drawer is chock full of Fontina, Gouda, Parmesan, Romano, Feta (I have a serious affinity for cheeses).  The last time I actually made a Risotto was Ina Garten's Spring Risotto (August 2009), so it was time to make this delicious Italian comfort food.  

Risotto isn't a difficult dish to make.  Sure, you have to add small amounts of chicken stock, and you need to do a bit of stirring. On the other hand, it doesn't mean you can't do a little prep work in the kitchen at the same time.  I've added some saffron to the broth and white wine, for some color.

I made a few changes from the "Quince's" recipe and I decided to quickly saute' the asparagus (rather than steam them) with a little olive oil and unsalted butter.  I also sauteed shallots (instead of green onion) with some fresh garlic, before adding the rice. 

As the liquid reduces, I add an additional ladle of chicken broth, and make sure to stir often.

Risotto should be cooked until it's al dente (firm when bitten).  The end result that I prefer is a creamy risotto, but I honestly don't want it to be too "soupy".  The asparagus is al dente as well, so it's time to cook the shrimp-- I've done a quick marinade of the shrimp with a splash of white wine, finely minced garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice and some olive oil.
These shrimp (tails removed) are quickly cooked for about 2 minutes per side...

We want them pink and no longer opaque. Remove from heat.

The rice is perfectly cooked, I season it with a little more coarse salt.  The pan is removed from the heat, and I add a fistful of freshly grated Parmesan, about 2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, the asparagus and a handful of frozen peas (unthawed).  I gave the risotto a final stir.

 Now, add the cooked shrimp...

Carnaroli rice makes such a creamy risotto!  But this needs more freshly grated cheese, and a little lemon zest...

All that's needed is a glass of chilled white wine and for a hungry husband to join me at the dinner table. 

TASTING NOTES:  You can cook the risotto a minute or two less, if you prefer more of a runny sauce. It's all preference.  I loved the creamy, thickness of the rice, which was perfectly cooked. The color of the saffron was really nice, but you could use a pinch of tumeric if you don't have saffron on hand.  The shrimp rounded out this light comfort food meal, and a crisp white wine balanced the citrus and the saltiness of the Parmesan. 

If you've always thought making risotto is too hard, or too much work, I can assure you that it took about 25 minutes for this dinner to be on the table.  It took about 15 seconds for my husband to be at the table, and an immeasurable amount of time to enjoy each others company for a cozy dinner at home-- and definitely a lot more economical than at a restaurant.

A printable recipe is at the bottom of this post.
 




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21 comments:

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Avec shrimp, merci.
Sam

Christine said...

Just found your blog and love the recipes as well as the photos and writing. I've been thinking about risotto lately and this just pushed me over the edge (in a good way)! Thanks too for the info on the Carnaroli for the risotto. I usually just get a bag at Trader Joe's so will be on the lookout for this.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

You made one of my all-time favorites - risotto with fresh spring veggies. I'd love it with or without the shrimp, but those shrimp make it a fancy feast.

nancy@skinnykitchen.com said...

I love trying new techniques too. Your risotto sounds really delicious. Great photos. I've shared 2 risotto recipes in the past on my site. Risotto really isn't that tough to make and really worth any effort!

Joanne said...

2009! That is FAR too long to go without making risotto! But it seems like riding a bicycle...you don't ever forget how to do it. Delicious!

MaryBeth said...

Oh it must have Shrimp...

Quinces said...

Wow, your pictures are amazing! It makes me want to make it all over again! Thanks for the shout out!

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Hi, Debby. THIS was the recipe that I was looking at when I saw your other one (the berry turnovers) that I JUMPED to! LOL! This recipe looks delicious. I have never made risotto, but when I saw you added saffron (which I have in my cupboard and haven't used yet!), I think I might try it. It looks delicious. I still have to come back to see more of your recipes, they all look so damn good! :)
Best,
Gloria

Cheryl said...

I am pretty sure we were separated at birth, I am the exact same way. My pantry is packed and I have a full freezer and a fridge/freezer in the garage full of everything you can think of! Love the Recipe, in fact I love Risotto!

Mary said...

This looks guest worthy, Debbie. It sounds lovely, looks beautiful and, like everything you prepare, I'm sure it is delicious. I hope all is well. Have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

Kate said...

Debby, this looks amazing...I am ready to pull up a chair but I am certain there isn't any left! Guess I will be making risotto with shrimp!

TKW said...

Debby,

That's a thing of beauty. I also have made Ina's Spring Risotto, but this looks even better!

Penny said...

Debby, This looks delicious. I too find myself with all kinds of exotic ingredients. So funny.

High Heels & Good Meals! said...

This dish looks AMAZING! Thanks for sharing!

RSA Now said...

Nothing beats a good risotto, can't wait to try this recipe out

theUngourmet said...

Om Nom Nom... This risotto looks amazing! Love the asparagus and shrimp! I do the same thing. I buy something for one reason and end up forgetting or getting side tracked and then making something completely different. ;)

Allie said...

I love how fresh peas are in any kind of pasta/starch! They just had an extra pop (literally!) that I love. And the color is beautiful.

Cathy said...

What a stunner, Debby. I share your attention span. I try to have my freezer emptied by the time the farmers market starts but I'm not even close this year. I've got to start using what I have in there to make room for new stuff. I think I'm just hooked on buying fun new products.

bellini said...

I have some spot prawns that I brought home from the weekend that thsu would be perfect for Debby!

Simple Simon said...

A perfect dinner and a perfect looking risotto. Thanks for sharing!

Bill said...

I love risotto and the addition of saffron is brilliant! Great post and photos!