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Mushroom Risotto with Garlicky Shrimp

September 20, 2009

We’ve had a few busy weeks recently, and it looks like we’re finally going to be able to settle down a bit for a more normal one. After a very nice weekend which involved seeing friends, shopping at many different stores for groceries (4!), and just hanging out with each other I wanted to bite off a challenge from the list of items I’d not yet cooked: Risotto. We had an extra quart of beef broth left over from the onion soup, and it seemed like the perfect thing to make. I picked up some Arborio rice from Trader Joe’s, some mushrooms from Market Basket, and we got a few very nice pieces of large, wild shrimp from Whole Foods. The dish has a very creamy texture, which is achieved by the slow gradual cooking of the rice in the slowly reducing cooking liquid. It’s hard to believe that there is only a tiny bit of butter in the whole dish given how rich it tastes!

There are, as always, a few things to note. First of all, this recipe will take you a while. I made enough for 3 servings (one for each of us, and one for lunch leftovers), and it took about an hour. There are likely some shortcuts that could be taken, but the most important part takes the longest, the actual stirring/absorbing process of actually cooking the rice. Just because we happened to go all over the map for our ingredients, don’t feel as if you have to, as all of it is available anywhere. The shrimp flew by, and is very easy to overcook so please be careful and mind the residual heat of your pan! For vegetarians, omit the shrimp and use a different broth. Finally, while I used baby bella mushrooms, any will do, as long as they’re fresh (or reconstituted first).

Mushroom Risotto with Garlicky Shrimp (Serves 2-3):

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, 1 minced and 1 finely sliced, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4-6 cups beef broth (or any old broth you want to use)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 handful chopped fresh curly parsley, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6-9 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied

Instructions

  1. Warm up broth in a small pot until just short of a simmer. Do not let boil.
  2. Heat up butter in medium coverable sauce pan over low-medium heat, and add onion once melted.
  3. Cook onion gently for 5-10 minutes, until soft and slightly translucent. Add the minced garlic, and stir until just fragrant. Add mushrooms and turn up the heat to medium.
  4. Cook onion, garlic, and mushroom mix until mushrooms have reduced in size, about 5-10 minutes. Add rice to pan and stir to completely coat. Cook until rice starts to turn translucent and shiny, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Turn heat down to low-medium, and add the wine. Stir until wine is completely absorbed, and add a ladleful of the hot broth. Mixture should *barely* simmer. Stir constantly until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Continue the process of ladling in broth and stirring, tasting every cycle after the first few. When rice texture is cooked but still slightly firm, you’re done with this stage. It may take 30-45 or more minutes. Trust your taste in the rice texture. You may not use all the broth. Stay patient, and manage the heat properly.
  7. When rice is complete, stir in all of the Parmesan cheese and half of the parsley until well combined. Cover, and cut the heat. Leave pot covered while shrimp is prepared.
  8. In a medium frying pan, heat up olive oil and sliced garlic over high heat (add the garlic at the start). When the garlic starts to show the slightest hint of brown (do NOT let it burn, it will ruin everything), remove it from the pan leaving as much oil as possible.
  9. When the pan is very hot (oil may smoke), add the shrimp in an even row. Cook for 30-45 seconds a side, being careful not to overcook.
  10. Spoon 1 cup (or more as desired) of risotto into bowls, add 3 shrimp per bowl on top and sprinkle with the rest of the parsley and a bit of freshly ground black pepper if desired. Serve immediately.
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