Risotto is one of those recipes that elicits respect. It takes a little bit of TLC, all of that stirring. Risotto is needy. You can’t leave it unattended too long. And it is key to be patient when adding the stock. Too much liquid at one time can completely derail the dish. So be prepared to stand over your saucepan and enjoy the cooking magic of this ever absorbing rice. But, all in all, it is a fairly easy dish to whip together and can definitely be concocted in under one hour. Skip shrimp to make it even simpler! The risotto is delicious enough to stand on its own and will still impress.
We suggest consulting Action Bronson and Chef Michael White (of Marea, Osteria Morini, Ai Fiori, etc) for some professional risotto cooking tips. For our risotto, we used a super simple, straight forward recipe from the New York Times as our basis.
- 1 lb medium shrimp, in shell
- 1 quart chicken stock
- salt to taste
- 2 TBS butter or olive oil
- 2 shallots chopped
- 1 1/2 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- generous pinch of saffron (optional)
- 2 TBS freshly chopped parsley
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- Shell and de-vein the shrimp. Set aside and salt them lightly. Rinse the shells and combine with 4-5 cups water. Bring to a boil, skim off the foam, reduce heat to low and simmer partly covered for 30 minutes. Strain and add to chicken stock. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan.*
- Melt the butter in a large, wide saucepan and then add the shallots. Cook, stirring until the shallot softens, 3-5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt to the shallots and stir, and then add the rice and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the rice begins to crackle.
- Stir in the wine and cook over medium heat. You want the wine to bubble, but not too quickly. When the wine has just about evaporated, add a ladleful of the stock, enough to cover the rice. Stir often over medium-low heat. As the rice absorbs the stock, add additional ladlefuls. You want to add more stock once the previous ladleful has just about been absorbed. At some point, crush the saffron threads between your fingers and stir in. You should continue adding stock for about 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, taste a bit of rice. The rice should be a bit chewy, but definitely not hard in the middle. Continue adding stock until you reach this al dente stage (you likely will have a bit of leftover stock). When you think your rice is nearly perfect, stir in parsley and one more ladle of stock. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper.
- We like to make the shrimp separately, but you can also add to the rice to cook. If cooking with the rice, when the rice is nearly finished, add the shrimp to the risotto with a ladle of stock and cook, stirring for 4-5 minutes, until the shrimp is pink. If you’d like to cook separately, heat 2 TBS of olive oil over medium-high heat in a pan. Add shrimp in an even layer and cook for 3 minutes. Turn shrimp and cook an additional 2 minutes. We recommend adding a spritz of lemon, splash of white wine when turning the shrimp.
Details: Serves 4
*Note: You can skip the shrimp and just purchase a bit more chicken stock. In this case, you’d be making delicious, classic risotto without the extra fuss of creating shrimp stock.