In this recipe video, I wanted to show you another installment of the wonderful world of risotto. As I’ve written in the past, risotto options are endless; it really is a blank canvas on which you can paint nearly anything. In this version, I add some quickly sautéed shrimp and some pureed peas which make a great spring time combination. The firm salty shrimp provide a great contract is texture, in addition to great flavor, and the sweet pea puree, gives the dish a brilliant green color. My guests are always super impressed with this recipe, and it's pretty simple to make. Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you.
Recipe Overview & Keys to Success
Like all risottos there are few things you need to keep in mind when cooking the rice. We’ll go over those below, and in addition, add a quick word about sautéing shrimp:
- Make sure you use arborio rice; you can’t do this other types
- Don’t overcook the rice, because no one like mushy rice – it should take about 25 minutes on a good simmer – but start tasting at 20 and then every few minutes
- Don’t go crazy with the cream and cheese. The key to good risotto is balance and you can kill the rice and other ingredients by going overboard with cream and cheese.
- Overcooked shrimp are like rubber bands; you want them just cooked through to keep them tender; so I cook them separately and then add them to the risotto at the last second.
Ingredients for Risotto with Shrimp and Peas (for two)
- 1/2 cup of frozen peas
- 1/4 cup of baby spinach
- 4 – 6 raw, peeled and clean shrimp
- Arborio Rice – half cup (about a quarter cup per person)
- Shallot – finely diced
- Garlic – a mined clove
- White wine – a third of a cup
- Cayenne pepper – a dash
- Chicken Stock - 4 – 6 cups
- Parmesan cheese - 1 – 2 tablespoons
- Mascarpone cheese – 2 – 3 tablespoons
Make the Pea Puree
- I use frozen peas for this, because I think they are generally pretty high quality. If you’d like use fresh no problem.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and drop in the peas to cook for 2 – 3 minutes; until just tender
- Drain from the water and immediately cool them under cold water to stop the cooking process
- Put the peas, and the baby spinach in a blender, with a bit of water (just enough to get the blades turning) and puree until smooth
- Empty into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap while we cook the risotto (this can be done a few hours ahead of time)
Cook the Shrimp and Risotto
- I like to start the risotto (which takes 25 – 30 minutes), and while it cooks, sauté my shrimp separately
- Heat the chicken stock until near simmering, and adjust the heat to keep it at that temperature. Grab a ladle you can use to spoon the stock into the risotto pan and keep it handy.
- To a hot sauté pan, add olive oil to coat the bottom, and the sauté the diced shallot and garlic until softened
- Add the risotto (if needed add a bit more olive oil) and toast the rice for 2 – 3 minutes. The rice should give off a slightly nutty aroma, and start to become a bit translucent.
- After a few minutes, add the white wine and stir the rice until it’s mostly evaporated.
- Season the rice with salt and pepper (do it now, so the rice absorbs the flavor)
- Add 1 – 2 ladles of stock, enough to just submerge the rice and keep it at a simmer. Stir every couple minutes until the stock is nearly gone, then add some more stock and repeat until the rice is just cooked through – about 20 minutes.
- While the risotto is cooking, sauté the shrimp
- Season the raw shrimp with salt and pepper, heat a sauté pan over high heat
- Add olive oil to coat the pan, and sear the shrimp on one side until they turn pink, about a minute. Flip the shrimp over, and cook for another minute until they are opaque and cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside while the risotto finishes cooking
- After about 20 minutes the risotto will become increasingly thick and “saucy” as the starch from the rice is released.
- Once the rice becomes just tender or “al dente”, add a few tablespoons of the pea puree, the mascarpone, cayenne pepper, and the parmesan cheese. Stir to combine.
- Taste the risotto, you can add more of the puree or cheese, salt/pepper to adjust the flavor
- The risotto should still be fairly loose, and creamy – not stiff like oatmeal
- Add the shrimp (you can either leave whole, or cut them up as I do), and stir them in, they will come up to temperature in about a minute.
- Serve and enjoy…you may want to garnish with some more shrimp and peas…but it’s great as is.
Hope you enjoy it, and leave a comment to let me know how it goes.