Thursday, January 23, 2014

Shrimp, Basil and Lemon Risotto

Shrimp and Lemon Risotto - made January 12, 2014, modified from Pam Niedzwiecki's Tastebook
One of my goals (I don't like to call them "resolutions" due to the stigma of resolutions being very fleeting) for 2014 besides the usual "cook more often" is "use up what you have before you buy more". That mantra applies not just to clothes, shoes and exercise DVDs (not to mention "read all the books on my unread shelf before trolling amazon") but also to my pantry and refrigerator. Remember, I have ingredient hoarding tendencies. They're most prevalent in regards to baking ingredients, as evidenced by the 4 boxes of cake flour I somehow ended up with after the holiday baking season, but also apply to ingredients I use for cooking.

I don't know how long I've had the opened box of arborio rice in my pantry, probably since the last time I made Lemon and Parmesan Risotto which fortunately was not as far back as 2010 when I first blogged the recipe but it wasn't within the last 6 months either. Okay, time to use up the arborio rice. The most obvious choice is in risotto but I wanted a different recipe this time. It's also that time of year when lemons are in abundance and I've had every lemon tree owner I know ask me if I need/want lemons. Risotto and lemon just go well together. I also like that this recipe adds basil to the mix. I modified it from the original recipe which called for grilling the shrimp separately. At the time I made this, it was cold outside and I didn't want to hang out on my balcony grilling shrimp so I simplified it to add shrimp directly to the risotto to cook over the stovetop.
This recipe is also different from my norm in that it uses Fontina cheese instead of Parmesan. The Fontina is more subtly flavored so I didn't taste it as much as I would have had it been Parmesan cheese. If you like the bite of cheese, I suggest garnishing the finished serving(s) of risotto with grated Parmesan at the end. Instead, the Fontina added to the creaminess of the risotto. Before I added it, the risotto was a nice fluffy texture. After the Fontina went it, it became more moist, almost wet. Still good but I cooked it a few minutes longer to dry it out a bit.
3 cups chicken broth mixed with 1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
zest from 2 lemons
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup Fontina cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined (more if you like lots of shrimp)
1/2 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  1. Place broth and water in a medium-size saucepan; bring to a simmer. 
  2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice and stir until rice is coated with oil. Cook for 2 minutes. Add wine and cook until absorbed, about 1 minute.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth to the rice. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until absorbed. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, cooking in the same manner. This will take 25-30 minutes. Do not shortcut this step as this is what ensures the rice will cook properly.
  4. Stir in the lemon zest, juice, cheese, salt and pepper. Add shrimp and stir until pink and cooked. Stir in basil just before serving. Garnish with lemon zest and/or grated Parmesan if desired.

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