Thursday, November 12, 2009

Risotto with Spicy Garlic Shrimp (and shrimp stock)

Risotto is one of those “restaurant” foods. You know, foods you only eat at restaurants, but never make at home. Why? Because it seems too scary, too difficult, too labor intensive. Whatever the reason, people seem to be afraid of attempting homemade risotto. Until very recently, I was one of those fearful people. If risotto was on a menu, I’d order it in a flash, but make it at home? Despite how easy the chefs on Food Network always made it seem, I was reluctant. But no longer. I made risotto for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and it was amazing. Unbelievable. Like at a restaurant. Victory was mine. And it can be yours too.

(That particular glorious recipe will be posted soon, once I make it again to get some better pictures.)

If you haven’t had it before, risotto is a Northern Italian specialty traditionally made with short-grained Arborio rice. The rice’s natural starch makes the rice creamy without actually adding any cream. It is slow cooked with gradual additions of hot stock, resulting in plump, creamy yet still al dente rice.

For this recipe, I used shrimp stock. I have to confess, I normally buy good quality stock at the store. However, when a little research told me how easy shrimp stock is to make, I decided to be adventurous and make my own. The research was right – homemade shrimp stock is simple and basically free to make, if you purchase shrimp that still have their shells. For me, it was actually quicker and easier than making an extra, last minute run to the store. For you, do whatever is easier.

The real star of this recipe though, is the spicy garlic shrimp. Marinated in lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes, the shrimp’s flavor explodes in your mouth. The marinade and shrimp juices combine to form an unbelievably flavorful sauce, with very few ingredients and very little effort. Most of the shrimp are chopped up and stirred into the risotto, so you get a chunk or two in every bite. The remaining shrimp are left whole, decorating the top of the plated risotto, inviting you to dive in. That is, if you manage not to eat all of them while waiting on your risotto…

Risotto with Spicy Garlic Shrimp
For Spicy Garlic Shrimp:
2 lbs raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sea salt
2 T. flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon

For Risotto:
2 cups Arborio rice
6-7 cups shrimp stock, store-bought or homemade (see recipe below)
2 T. unsalted butter, divided
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup shallots, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Zest of 1 lemon

For Spicy Garlic Shrimp:
Remove shells and tails from shrimp. Rinse gently and pat dry.

In a large bowl, combine shrimp with all remaining ingredients. Stir a few times to coat the shrimp evenly.

Cover and refrigerate for 10 to 20 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the shrimp and any juices in the bowl. (Cook in two batches if necessary, so that the shrimp do not overlap.) Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, until the shrimp curl up and turn pink. Do not overcook or they will become rubbery.

Remove cooked shrimp to a plate or cutting board. When cool enough to touch, cut into pieces (three or four pieces per shrimp, depending on shrimp size). Reserve a few whole shrimp per serving to place on top of finished risotto. Set shrimp aside until risotto is ready.  (The Spicy Garlic Shrimp would also be fantastic served over pasta.)

For Risotto:
In a medium pot, heat shrimp stock until simmering, but not boiling.

In a large skillet or saucepan, heat olive oil and 1 T. butter over medium-high heat.

When the butter has melted and is starting to foam, add rice and shallots to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is toasted and the shallots are translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add white wine to pan and stir occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the wine is nearly absorbed.

Add 3/4 cup hot stock. Stir occasionally, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding stock, 3/4 cup at a time. Stir occasionally, waiting for each addition of stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take about 22 to 25 minutes.

When the stock has all been absorbed and the rice is tender, add remaining tablespoon of butter, parmesan cheese, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.

Add chopped shrimp and stir to combine.

Serve immediately, topping each portion with reserved whole shrimp.

Serves 4 as an entrée.


Homemade Shrimp Stock

2 lbs. shrimp shells
6 cups water
1 tsp. sea salt

Combine shrimp shells, water, and salt in a medium pot.

Bring to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes.

Strain the broth through a colander, pressing down on the shells to extract as much liquid as possible.

Discard shells and return stock to pot if making risotto right away. Otherwise, refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use.


  1. This looks delish! I am so making this next week!

  2. So I made the risotto tonight, and it WAS delish. I only used one pound of shrimp, and while it was fine, two definitely would have been better. I did have some problems though, because my risotto needed more than 6-7 cups of water (and probably could have used one or two more than I used), AND it took me ONE HOUR to cook the dang rice. My arm was killing me. It might have just been my rice compared to yours. Who knows. The finished product was so good and I will definitely make it again (especially the shrimp!).

  3. Katie - why haven't you told me about this!?!?!? You know about my looooooooveeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so putting this on the biweekly menu next weekend. And of course, I will post and tell all about it :) I'm so excited!

  4. How many servings is this recipe?



Related Posts with Thumbnails