Plat du Jour > Shrimp Risotto

| March 10, 2015

Lisa Harp, Valdosta Today Food Contributor

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Here’s a step by step guide to making a great shrimp risotto

This week I wanted to share some tips for a dish that many believe too difficult to make. It’s one of those things, much like a souffle, that is steeped in cooking lore that is do-able if you have the patience to try and practice. It’s your astuce du jour, or tip of the day.

Today it’s Shrimp Risotto. We love risotto at our house and I make a few versions. The one I’m sharing today comes from an excellent French cooking blog with a treasure chest of recipes and information, Croque-Camille.

The author begins with the question, “what should I do with leftover fish stock?” The answer: Shrimp risotto! She adds mushrooms to absorb flavor and peas (though you can pass on the peas if you prefer, as do I) as a garnish.

She uses fish stock and arborio rice, then she adds other ingredients. She also uses leeks, parsley, and the mushrooms.

Then the shrimp. Here, being French, she uses langoustines instead and the photos, which are her’s, show them, not the shrimp. The langoustines look like massive shrimp, but more akin to lobster. Here, we will go with the shrimp based on our location and budget, but you can decide how decadent you want to be.

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She boiled her langoustines alive, like the mini-lobsters they are, in her fish stock. We can use shrimp here, though, and they obviously don’t have to be live, though fresh is good. The point is to get a shrimp-fortified stock for the risotto and the shrimp in shells and stock provide that flavor.

As I noted and the author confirms, contrary to popular belief, risotto is not difficult to make, nor does it require hours of hovering over the stove, stirring constantly. There are five basic steps in risotto making. To further interest you (or confuse you, possibly) the author uses these steps in, not French, but Italian! How’s that for sophistication? French cooking tips in Italian.

Hold on, here we go.

Step 1: Sofritto – this is your flavor base. Start with butter (and maybe some olive oil or bacon) and sauté some onions in it. Risotto almost always starts with onions. In this particular case, she cooked the mushrooms first, because she wanted to save some of them to add in later. When they were done, she removed about 2/3 of them and left the rest in the pan. Then she added 2 chopped leeks. She said she chose leeks because she wanted a more delicate, fresh flavor than regular onions would give.

I wanted to show you the photo of her girolles mushrooms. The point is, I don’t think just any mushroom will do this justice. Maybe morels? Be creative. The point is to absorb and hold flavor and add contrast.

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Step 2: Riso – the rice. Arborio or carnaroli rice are your best bets, according to the author. Make sure there is enough fat in the pan, and add the rice directly to the vegetables. Stir it around until the grains are coated in fat and beginning to turn translucent around the edges. (She used about 3/4 cup of rice, which fed two people as a main dish.)

Step 3: Vino – deglaze with wine. Here, she used about 1/2 cup of dry white wine. Add it to the pan, stir to ensure even distribution, and let it simmer, stirring occasionally. She notes this may be a good time to peel the shrimp or, in her case, the langoustine tails.

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Step 4: Brodo – adding the broth.  When the wine is almost completely absorbed, begin adding the stock.  Start with about half of your total amount of liquid (in this case, she started with about 3 1/2 cups of stock, then poured in 1 3/4 cups all at once).  Stir and let it simmer.  Stir every so often, but you don’t have to obsess over it.  In fact, she comments that too much stirring results in overly gluey risotto. When the stock is nearly gone, but not totally, ladle in about 1/2 cup more broth.  Stir, simmer, and repeat 2 or 3 more times until the rice is properly cooked.  This means that the grains of rice are tender, but still distinct from one another, and they should be suspended in a thick, but not gloppy, sauce.

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Step 5: Condimenti – final garnishes.  Now that you have nearly perfect risotto, finish it with butter and your desired vegetables, proteins, cheese, or what-have-you. She stirred in a tablespoon or so of butter (which she notes helps to keep the sauce from becoming gummy), the shrimp meat, the reserved mushrooms, the optional peas, and some fresh parsley.

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Last but not least, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper (she reminds us that we should season as we go), and make sure it’s all heated through, and serve in a shallow bowl.

You just blew away everyone at your next supper club! Congratulations. French cooking tips in Italian steps, in a Southern kitchen.


Lisa HarpLisa Harp owns Plat du Jour Gourmet Delivery, delivering delicious meals to businesses and individuals all over South Georgia and North Florida since 2003. She has been featured in Southern Living magazine, including the Best of the Year recipes and cookbook, as well as online and newspapers. You can learn more about her business by visiting her website at www.yourplatdujour.com.

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