Monday, February 15, 2010

The best shrimp risotto you will never make

This is the third in a series of “best things you’ll never make,” so named because the ingredients in our recipes were unique to our fridge, freezer or pantry. Of course you can make a very good shrimp risotto without fennel, ramen flavoring, grappa and cheese. We are ardent fans of Giada DiLaurentiis and she advocates the addition of cheese to shrimp risotto. We like it.

While this was a collaborative effort, the main part of the preparation, and the recipe ingredients, are all from my partner Peter’s efforts and imagination.

We had about 3 cups of frozen lobster stock and made a whole batch more yesterday from the frozen shells of 6 lobsters we consumed over Christmas and New Year’s and our Jan. 3 29th anniversary. After stewing the shells for a couple of hours, removing the shells and reducing by about 1/3, we still had somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 cups. 8 cups have gone into the freezer for future shrimp and grits and who knows what else.

You can find canned fish stock in some supermarkets. I’ve never used it. I think if we didn’t have what we had on hand, I would have used low sodium, low fat chicken stock and added some Thai fish sauce for a hint of seafood flavor.

I also strongly suspect you do not have lobster Newburg sauce in your pantry. A couple of Christmases ago Peter’s mom sent us a package of dried pastas, several jars of marinara sauce and these Newburg cans. It is absolutely a non-essential ingredient, but all the eclectic things Peter put together for this yielded a risotto unparallel in my (our) experience. Thanks, partner!
Just for the record, the side dish is sauteed baby spinach.

The best shrimp risotto you will never make
For the shrimp:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
10 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp shrimp ramen flavoring
pinch of black pepper

Heat olive oil and butter until the butter is melted and the foam subsides. Add shrimp, season with ramen flavoring and pepper. Cook until pink ½ way up from the bottom. Turn shrimp, cook 1 more minute and remove from heat and set aside.

For the risotto:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup fennel stalks or fennel bulb pieces, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup grappa, anisette, Pernod or white wine
5 cups lobster, shrimp, or seafood stock, simmering
1 10 ½ oz. can lobster Newburg sauce (available by mail order from the Vermont Country Store)
¼ cup Fennel fronds, chopped
zest of ½ lemon
juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp butter, at room temperature
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated finely

Heat oil and butter in a sauté pan until the butter melts and the foam subsides. Add onion and fennel stalks and sauté until softened, 4-5 minutes.

Add rice and stir to coat with other ingredients, 2-3 minutes.

Add grappa, anisette, Pernod, or white wine and stir until it is absorbed and evaporates. Add 1/2 cup stock and stir until mostly absorbed. Continue adding stock in ½ cup increments, stirring constantly (the usual routine for risotto).

Loosen the Newburg with some stock and heat it in the microwave on high for about 90 seconds, beating the Newberg with a whisk or fork to fully loosen it with the added stock. About ½ way through the risotto cooking process (ten to twelve minutes in), begin incorporating some of the Newburg sauce with the lobster stock. (You may not use all of it, but you’ll certainly have enough, and better safe than sorry vis-à-vis the quantity of stock required to fully cook a risotto).

When the rice is nearly cooked, still a little al dente (20-25 minutes total), stir in the shrimp. Off the heat add lemon zest, lemon juice, grated cheese, softened butter, and chopped fennel fronds.

Serve in heated bowls.


Krissy @ The Food Addicts said...

hey stephen! that's a great looking shrimp risotto you have here. i actually just made risotto last night to eat with my rack of lamb. i didn't do anything too fancy to it though. great idea on adding the shrimp.

Jenn said...

OMG! That looks so good, Stephen! I love risotto AND Giada. :) For some reason Chris is not a huge fan of risotto, but I may need to change him on that with this recipe!

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