Thursday, June 07, 2007


I know it’s almost officially summer, but you’d never know it here! The nights have been in the mid-40s and the days are barely hitting 80. This past week, it never went over 75, and some days were downright chilly – just right for a last hurrah of Risotto.

This version is done “restaurant style” so everything stays pretty and the flavors retain their distinctness. You will need Arborio Rice or, my favorite: Carnaroli Rice. The former is now available in most grocery stores, the latter in Italian Specialty or Grocery Stores. This rice releases a lot of starch while cooking – almost making a soup – and that’s what makes Risotto what it is.

For 2-4 people you’ll need:

1 Broccoli Crown cut in tiny florettes
1 small Onion, chopped small

1 medium Carrot, diced
1 C frozen Peas, thawed
4-6 cloves Garlic, chopped rough
1 C Arborio or Carnaroli Rice
5-6 C Chicken Broth
3 Tb. Butter
Zest of one Lemon, chopped
¼ C Parmesano Reggiano

10-12 medium or
8-10 jumbo Shrimp

Olive Oil

(Options: use Veg. Broth or water, and leave out the shrimp for a Vegetarian-Style version, or substitute Chicken for the shrimp.)

Clean an devein the shrimp, then cut them in half lengthwise and again crosswise. Start a pan for sauté and a saucepan for the rice. Saute the shrimp and half of the garlic in a little olive oil. Strive to slightly undercook, rather than overcook it. In the saucepan, heat some olive oil and add the veggies (but not the peas). Stir constantly over high heat so that they caramelize just a bit, and cook through – but just barely. Remove the shrimp to a plate, and the veggies to a bowl.

Heat a little more olive oil in the same saucepan you cooked the veggies in. Add the rice and cook until the grains begin to shine a bright white. Add a cup or two of chicken broth, and boil stirring constantly. The rice will begin to absorb the broth, so add some more. Keep adding and stirring until the rice won’t absorb anymore and the remainder of the liquid has cooked away save for a nice, hot starchy bath around the rice kernels. Taste a few grains to make sure they’re cooked.

Now, take the pan off the heat and add the butter. Stir well. Add the Parmesan and stir again. Pour in the veggies (this time the peas, too) and stir once. Now ladle the risotto into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the lemon zest on top, and maybe another grating of Parmesan. Then sprinkle some garlic shrimp on top of that. Ahhhh! It’s Italian comfort food!

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