I always heard that risotto was difficult to make because it takes a lot of patience.
The thought of that alone intimidated me because I am well aware of how much patience I have.
Ok, maybe I am being a little too hard on myself.
I am extremely patient when it comes to people, but cooking is a completely different story.
I like cooking to be fun and easy. It is an outlet for me and something I really enjoy doing.
So the thought of stressing over a pot of risotto sounds like about as much fun as baking.
Thankfully one night a few months back, my curiosity got the best of me.
Since I love risotto so much, I decided to give it a try and quickly found out that it isn’t all of those horrible things I thought it was.
There is so much you can do and add and tweak and make up!
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of stirring and there are a few things you SHOULD do if you want it to be tasty, but guess what?
It will not shatter into sludge if you make changes.
So, are you ready to go for it?
I decided to make shrimp to go with it the other night. I got these gorgeous guys from my local fish store:
They are U12 Key West ‘Pinks’. U12 means there are approximately 12 shrimp in a pound and the pink color is from the pink coral sand they feed on in Key West.
Long story short, they are my favorite shrimp because of their flavor and texture.
Peel and clean the shrimp:
Then, put them in the refrigerator until you are ready for them.
For this risotto I used Leeks, Asparagus, Lemon Juice, Italian Parsley, Seafood Stock, Arborio Rice, and white wine (not shown):
This is where you can mix things up. You can use any stock or water or a mixture of the two.
I prefer to use stock over water and the kind of stock I use just depends on what I am serving with the risotto.
You can also use any vegetables you like, or none at all.
Heat the stock in a separate pan so it will be warm when you add it to the rice:
Wash, dry, and chop the leeks and asparagus and then saute them in a little butter:
While they are cooking chop the parsley and zest the lemon:
I know I told you this already but I’ll say it again.
Go buy yourself a Microplane. You will not regret it. I promise.
So. This is when I realized that if I left the asparagus in the pan, they would over cook.
No problem – just take them out and move on. It happens.
Pour about 1 cup of Arborio rice into the pan with the (now only) Leeks:
Stir and coat the rice with the butter, salt, and leek flavor.
Next, pour in about 1/2 cup of white wine and the juice of the lemon you zested earlier. Stir until the rice absorbs most of the wine and lemon juice.
This is where the Patience we spoke about earlier comes in.
Add the stock to the rice one ladle at a time and stir constantly.
Wait for all of the stock to be absorbed before adding the next ladle full.
This process takes about 30 minutes. Take your time and try not to rush it.
Your patience will be rewarded.
Enjoy the music that is playing, have a conversation with your family, call a friend, or ask your husband to stir for you while you shred the cheese.
That’s what I did.
I am using Pecorino Romano because that is what I had:
I usually use heavy cream but I used Mascarpone cheese instead.
You guessed it… because that is what I had.
Honestly, I think I will use Mascarpone instead of heavy cream from now on. I love the creaminess and flavor it adds.
Add the asparagus to the rice about the same time you add your last ladle of stock:
Once all of the stock is absorbed, add the shredded cheese:
Then add a couple of dollops of Mascarpone:
Once all of that is combined and creamy do a taste test and add salt, if needed.
Salt and Pepper the shrimp and add them to a medium-hot pan.
They don’t take long to cook but even better, they don’t require a lot of attention.
Next, add the lemon zest and chopped parsley to the risotto and combine:
Flip the shrimp and cook until both sides have a nice crust on the outside:
Taste the risotto and make sure it is seasoned the way you like it.
It tastes like Springtime.
Scoop the risotto on your plate and add the shrimp:
The risotto was very light and creamy and one of the best ones I’ve made yet.
Just remember to add the stock slowly, stir often…
And have fun with it!