In my Italian family, delicious and creamy risotto recipes were a staple along with, of course, spaghetti and frittatas. Try my Grandmother’s favorite Italian rice dish.
Risotto is the Italian word for rice. It is a short grain rice. Short grain rices are more able to absorb liquids and have more starch so they get stickier and form a creaminess with the preparing liquid which is usually chicken or beef broth.
My Grandmother could find more delicious ways to cook risotto.
Her traditional way she would prepare it was to saute the risotto (my Grandmother used Arborio rice) with onions, garlic and olive oil. Then add homemade chicken broth and simmer until it was creamy and thick. We would sprinkle extra Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (which was the only kind of cheese she would allow on this dish) and more butter over the top and it would melt into a smooth creamy pungent and flavorful dish. I get hungry just thinking about it.
Often times, She would just ladle spaghetti sauce over risotto and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and parsley.
One of my favorites was the risotto with shrimp and capers. I didn’t even know what a caper was at the time, but I sure liked the taste it gave this dish.
My Grandmother had several Italian friends that were also from Italy. Most were from different regions of southern or northern Italy. They all had their own risotto recipes and all of them were quite different from each other.
I used to love to go to her house. Sometimes her friends would be there and they would all be in the kitchen cooking up great meals and speaking Italian. Debating on who’s sauce was best or who made the best pasta. I remember that with such warmth. They all looked so happy and content.
SHRIMP RISOTTO RECIPE
- 10 fresh asparagus spears
- 3 tbls butter
- 1/2 tbls olive oil
- lemon juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 lb shrimp, uncooked, deveined and shelled
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 cups of hot chicken broth
- 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
- Cut off the tough ends of the asparagus and cut into 3/4 inch pieces. Do not cut the tips. Blanch them in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the water a place immediately in ice water. After a minute, remove from water, drain and pat dry.
- Saute shrimp quickly in 1/2 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 tablspoon olive oil and lemon juice, until they begin to turn pink. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In 3 qt sauce pan melt 2 tablspoons of the butter over a medium heat. Add onions and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Add rice and cook another 3 or 4 minutes. Add wine and salt. Stir to combine.
- Add 2 cups of hot chicken broth. Cook over low to medium heat until absorbed, 5 or 6 minutes. Continued adding hot chicken broth, 1 cup at a time. Allowing it to absorb before adding the next cup. This should take from about 15 to 20 minutes.
- When rice becomes thick and creamy, yet still firm, add the asparagus and shrimp and cook another 2 or 3 minutes, stirring to combine.
- Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter along with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.All you need to compliment this dish is simple green salad.