Longing for spring-like weather, I crave a dinner that will return me to warmer days spent in Tuscany and risotto will do just that!
Arborio rice, a staple of Northern Italian cuisine, is a medium grain rice with a pearl-like appearance that produces a creamy texture when cooked the traditional way, with olive oil (no butter) and cooked al dente (tender). It was named after the town Arborio in the mountain valley of the Piedmonte region in northern Italy, where it was first farmed.
Risotto, normally served as the primo or first course, is paired with grilled shrimp for an elegant dinner that is delicious and light.
MUSHROOM RISOTTO with GRILLED SHRIMP
Yield 4 servings
1 small onion, minced
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (evoo)
32 oz. free range, organic chicken broth, low sodium
1 cup frozen organic mixed mushrooms (white, Crimini, Portabello, Shitake)
1 17.6 oz. box Italian Arborio Risotto rice
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
16 - 20 large uncooked shrimp, peeled & deveined (preferably organic with no chemicals or antibiotics)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, tear the leaves and discard stems
Prepare the risotto:
Place a medium-size cooking pan over medium heat, add olive oil and onions; sauté until tender and translucent,about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until coated evenly for another 3 to 5 minutes.
Add 1/3 cup of the broth and maintain a slow boil; stir continuously. Add the mushrooms and as the broth is absorbed, add the remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly; this will take approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Test the risotto to be sure that it has cooked al dente or firm.
While you are cooking the risotto, prepare the shrimp (see below).
Turn heat to off and remove pan from heat, stir in cheese and season with black pepper, cover and set on cook top to keep warm.
Prepare the shrimp:
Set a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat, coat the pan with evoo; add shrimp in single layer. Turn shrimp over when they turn pink and become opaque; cook other side. Remove to a warm plate, cover with foil and cook remaining shrimp.
Plate your dish:
Arrange a serving of risotto in the center, add shrimp and garnish with fresh parsley.