Spring Risotto with Shrimp

Last night I had two girlfriends over for dinner. These are the kind of friends where we’ll sit and chat for hours and hours and then suddenly realize that its not only dark outside but it’s the middle of the night. That’s why I chose to make something that wouldn’t require a ton of thought or time to put together. I picked up some sheep/goat/cow (we tried to figure out what that would sound like – a fun game after a few glasses of wine) soft cheese and a smoky gouda with some seed crackers for appetizers and then made a lemon asparagus pea risotto with shrimp, steamed some artichokes, and served fresh strawberries over homemade vanilla ice cream that I’d churned earlier in the day. Everything was delicious though I’d try a different vanilla ice cream recipe next time as the texture was more like “ice milk” than ice cream. My new goal is to use the ice cream maker once a week so there will be plenty of time to perfect a vanilla ice cream recipe this summer. There are a bunch of recipes on the David Lebovitz and Pastry Studio websites that I’m itching to play with.

Spring Risotto with Shrimp (adapted from Gourmet’s Lemony Risotto with Asparagus and Shrimp)

  • 4-5 cups homemade chicken broth
  • 3/4 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup fresh shelled peas
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep covered.

In a small saucepan, bring some water to a boil. Add asparagus and peas and simmer, uncovered, until just tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer vegetables with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking, then drain.

Cook shallot in 2 tablespoons butter with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed.

Stir in 1/2 cup broth mixture and briskly simmer, stirring frequently, until absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is creamy and tender but still al dente (it should be the consistency of a thick soup), about 18 minutes. (There will be leftover broth mixture.)

Stir in shrimp and cook until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Cover for a minute or two if that helps speed up the process.

Stir in asparagus, zest, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, parmesan, parsley, and pepper to taste. (Thin risotto with some of remaining broth if necessary.)

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