Spring Risotto with Smoky Shrimp

Printemps 2017
food and drink

BY: Julia Aitken

A light and lovely way to start Easter dinner.

7 cups (1.75 L) homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
Reserved shrimp shells from Smoky Shrimp (recipe follows)
2 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
1 strip lemon rind, about 2 inches (5 cm)
3 tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter, divided
¼ cup (60 mL) finely chopped shallot
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1½ cups (375 mL) arborio rice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 mL) dry white vermouth
1½ cups (375 mL) fresh or frozen peas
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1½ tsp (7 mL) finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp (2 mL) finely grated lemon zest
Smoky Shrimp
Thyme sprigs (optional garnish)

1 In a medium saucepan, combine stock, shrimp shells, bay leaves, thyme sprig and lemon rind. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

2 Strain and reserve stock, discarding flavourings. Return stock to saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

3 In a large saucepan, melt 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter over medium heat. Add shallot. Cook, stirring often, until shallot is softened but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

4 Add garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add rice, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until edges of rice are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add vermouth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until most of vermouth has been absorbed by rice.

5 Add 3 cups (750 mL) warm stock and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until most of stock has been absorbed by rice, about 15 minutes.

6 Increase heat to medium and gradually stir in remaining stock, ½ cup (125 mL) at a time, stirring often and allowing rice to absorb stock before adding more, until most of stock has been added (you may not need all of it) and rice is al dente, 10 to 15 minutes.

7 Add peas, green onions, chopped thyme and lemon zest. Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until peas are heated through, about 2 minutes. Add remaining butter, stirring until butter melts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

8 Divide risotto among 8 shallow bowls. Top each serving with a skewer of Smoky Shrimp and garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Serves 8 as an appetizer

Smoky Shrimp

Just a few staple spices turn frozen shrimp into a classy garnish for risotto. Roasted granulated garlic has a deeper, more complex flavour than regular garlic powder.

24 uncooked frozen jumbo shrimp in shells, about 1 lb (500 g), thawed
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
½ tsp (2 mL) roasted granulated garlic
½ tsp (2 mL) sweet smoked paprika
¼ tsp (1 mL) kosher salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
8 short bamboo skewers, soaked in water and drained

1 Leaving ends of tails intact, peel and devein shrimp. Reserve shells for making Spring Risotto (previous recipe). Pat shrimp dry on paper towels.

2 In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne. Add shrimp and toss to coat well. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the barbecue or grill pan.

3 Preheat barbecue to high or heat an oiled, ridged grill pan over high heat. Thread 3 shrimp onto each skewer. Grill (with lid down if using barbecue), turning once or twice, until shrimp are just pink and firm, 2 to 4 minutes.

Makes 8 shrimp skewers