Sunday, April 04, 2010

Spring Vegetable and Shrimp Risotto

Last Sunday night, Amanda and Merrill of food52 hosted their second Sunday Supper. The idea is that they pick a couple of recipes, and then people cook them all at (roughly) the same time at their own homes, all while posting updates, comments, and photos on Hot Potato. I missed the first Sunday Supper, and so was particularly interested in participating in this one.

This supper's theme was risotto, either the Preserved Lemon and Spring Vegetable Risotto with Grilled Pernod Shrimp or Risotto Rosso. Given that spring is upon us, I liked the idea of making the spring vegetable risotto with asparagus and peas, but I didn't feel like going through with the recipe in its original form. First of all, I am not a huge anise flavor fan, so I didn't feel like using Pernod for both the rice and the shrimp marinade (I also didn't want to buy a whole bottle of the ingredient just for this recipe). And secondly, the bit about preserved lemon kind of intimidated me because it seemed like that would require more advanced planning than I had time and energy for after our trip. (By the time I read the comments on the original recipe and saw that making preserved lemons is really not that hard, it was too late to change my mind and still participate in Sunday Supper on time.)

In any case, I modified the recipe to be a little less involved (i.e. no Pernod or preserved lemon) - perhaps it was not as good as the original, but it was still mighty tasty. The way I made it, it was all pretty straightforward.

Here's the marinade for the shrimp being prepped:

And here's all of my mise en place - I am not usually quite this organized in my prep, but the recipe strongly suggested to prep everything ahead of starting the cooking of the risotto itself, since it involves quite a bit of attentive stirring:

I love how spring-y the peas make the risotto look:

and Mihai liked the large bits of butter and mascarpone that get added toward the end (along with mint and lemon zest):

The marinated shrimp get broiled, so they very quickly turn from this:

to this:

You can then top each portion of risotto with these shrimp. Here's a final shot of the risotto before it's plated:

Spring Vegetable and Shrimp Risotto
Adapted from food52 and The Dog's Breakfast

For the shrimp:

24 to 32 large, de-veined shrimp
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
3 cloves of garlic, minced
zest of half a large lemon
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

For the risotto:

¼ cup olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 small fennel bulb, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
fine sea salt, to taste
2 cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup lemon juice
6-8 cups hot chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup mascarpone
2 tablespoons lemon zest
¼ cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
2 cups fresh peas
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 2-inch lengths and blanched in salted, boiling water

1. In a bowl, mix the shrimp with the oil, white wine, garlic, zest, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Let the shrimp marinate at room temperature while you make the risotto.

2. Prepare all of your risotto ingredients: blanch the asparagus, heat the stock, chop and measure everything out, placing it all close to hand by the stove.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion, fennel, and garlic and sweat over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Season with salt about halfway through.

4. Add the rice and raise the heat to medium high. Stir to coat and slightly toast the rice for about 3 minutes. You should hear a lively crackling in the pot. The rice will take on a shiny, translucent coat.

5. Add the white wine and lemon juice to the rice and continue stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.

6. Add a ladleful of hot stock to the rice and continue stirring. It’s important to regulate the heat at this point. The rice should neither boil vigorously nor cook too slowly.

7. As the stock is absorbed, continue adding it by ladlefuls and stirring. Stop incorporating stock once the rice is creamy, cooked but not too soft. This can take between 20 and 30 minutes, and between 6 and 8 cups of stock. If you are using fresh peas like I did, incorporate them into the risotto about 5 minutes before you remove it from heat. (If you are using frozen peas, you can add them in along with the butter and mascarpone in the next step, as instructed in the original recipe. The fresh peas need a little extra time to cook through though, as pointed out in food52's video of this recipe.)

8. Remove the risotto from the heat, and immediately fold in the butter, mascarpone, lemon zest, peas, and most of the mint (save some for garnish). Stir slowly to blend, check a final time for seasoning, and carefully fold in the asparagus. Put a lid on the risotto and let it rest while you quickly broil the shrimp.

9. Broil the shrimp for about 60 seconds on each side, or until the flesh is completely opaque.

10. Top each serving of risotto with 4 shrimp, garnish with mint, and serve.


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