Easy Fall Dish – Shrimp Risotto
This post is by our resident Farm Foodie – Debra Dubief
Moving from summer to fall cooking begins with a recipe rearranging ritual for me. At first approached with trepidation as I imagine spending a lot more time next to my stove and a lot less hanging with my grill, I am soon reminded of the many culinary pleasures that await me in this new season. As I gently tuck away the stack of our favorite summer recipes into the back of my huge recipe folder, the top layer reveals everything from weeknight stand-bys to weekend indulgences that I happily reacquaint myself to.
Fall favorites like braised pork shoulder with black grapes and shallots, butternut squash lasagna and wild mushroom risotto bring back fond memories of cool weather cooking. Thumbing through these recipes and turning to the next chapter in my seasonal cookbooks, I note that while these dishes may require a little more cooking time, most of them don’t require any more prep than our summer meals.
We made risotto the other night for the first time in months and while, admittedly, I had some assistance from my favorite “sous chef,” I was also pleasantly reminded of the ease with which you can whip up a mouth-watering creamy pot of goodness. A few shallots, some shelled North Carolina shrimp, a bag of Carnaroli rice, a stray squash and a quart of stock and we were ready to feast in 30 minutes.
Tossing the shrimp in during the last five minutes of cooking not only makes things a whole lot easier, but also imparts fresh flavors of the sea into each grain of rice while perfectly cooking the delicate shrimp. Hearty and satisfying without being too heavy, risotto is a fabulous way to ease into fall cooking and begin again to savor the comforts of a warm kitchen.
The below recipe will easily serve 4 people. If you have a chance, get the Carnaroli rice because it truly makes the best risotto. If not, Arborio (pictured left) works fine. For the wine I like to use something a little bubbly like Vinho Verde or Prosecco if I have it. When I don’t, I use any white wine I happen to have.
If you are using shrimp that need shelling, boil the shells in your stock for 10 minutes and you will reap a lot of extra flavor. Although I added some summer squash I had rolling around in a veggie drawer, you can also add mushrooms, leeks, kale or chard or other veggies of your choice. Just be sure to slice thin so they cook quickly and evenly.
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 – 8 ounce bottle clam juice (or substitute an additional 8 ounces stock)
3 tablespoons butter
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
1 cup fruity white wine
1 zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
3/4 pound shelled, uncooked prawns or North Carolina shrimp
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
Bring stock and clam juice to a gentle simmer and keep warm.
Melt butter in large heave sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir until edges of rice begin to look translucent, 3-4 minutes.
Add wine and stir until liquid is absorbed. Adjust heat so that this takes about 2-3 minutes. Continue stirring with a wooden spoon to keep rice from sticking to pan.
Once wine is absorbed begin adding stock, about 1 cup at a time, simmering after each addition until liquid is completely absorbed and stirring often. It should take about 20 minutes total for the rice to absorb most of the liquid. After adding the last cup of liquid immediately stir in zucchini and prawns or shrimp. Continue cooking until mixture is creamy and the prawns cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. This will be just enough time to cook the squash as well if sliced thin. Remove from heat. Gently stir in Italian parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.