With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, we plan to celebrate on Saturday night with a little dinner date. But it doesn’t feel right to ignore the actual day, so I plan on making a fancy dinner for my family (complete with a decadent dessert) to make the night special. If you are wanting to impress your significant other, or make the night feel special, risotto is an excellent dish to make! It’s not very expensive like a steak dinner might be, and literally everyone likes it. What’s not to like about a creamy, delicious rice? The base of this risotto is a recipe I came up with more than a year ago and make quite often. I love that you can stir in whatever meat/veggie combo you want and come up with a new dish each time. For this shrimp risotto, I chose asparagus to complement the shrimp and added a squeeze of lemon juice to make it come together. Also, if you choose not to cook with the wine–which is an optional ingredient–adding lemon is a great way to get some acid in the dish. I hope you all love it!
You’ll need to start by peeling and deveining your shrimp. Fresh, wild shrimp is definitely best! I won’t get into it too much, but farmed shrimp is severely unsustainable and often comes with sketchy business practices overseas–including loading the shrimp with antibiotics, etc. It’s not super cost prohibitive to buy the good stuff, so definitely spend the money on wild!! I bought 1/2 lb for $8.
Now you’re ready to cook your shrimp! Melt some butter and squeeze some lemon juice in a skillet and then add your shrimp.
Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of thyme. Set aside. (You can do this ahead too! I chose to do this at nap time so the shrimp was already cooked and ready to go when I was making dinner.)
Now for the risotto. The trick to risotto is to be very present and stir frequently! It’s not difficult, but it’s definitely a dish that you have to pay attention to.
Saute your garlic and onions, add your optional white wine, and the rice. Then, 3 cups of good quality chicken broth and, if you choose asparagus, your asparagus cut at an angle into 1/2″ pieces.
Simmer at a low temperature, stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost dissolved:
Then add 1/4 cup of broth at a time, letting the liquid be absorbed between each addition, stirring constantly. The texture should be a thick consistency–it should spread out when you put it on a plate, but shouldn’t be so soupy as to require a bowl. Stir in your shrimp, your cheese, and some lemon zest and you have a delicious and fancy dinner.
Recipe by Parsley and Pepper
1/2 lb fresh shrimp, shell and veins removed
1 T butter
1 lemon, divided
1tsp + 1 pinch thyme, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1 T olive oil
1/4 cup white wine (OPTIONAL)
1 1/4 cup arborio rice
3 + cups good quality chicken broth
10 stalks asparagus, sliced at an angle into 1/2″ pieces
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Shell and devein your shrimp. Melt butter in a skillet and add shrimp. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over the skillet and then season with plenty of salt, pepper, and the pinch of thyme. Continue sauteing until the shrimp is cooked through and a nice pink color, flipping once. Set aside. In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, heat your olive oil. Add garlic and onion and saute until garlic is fragrant and onions are translucent. Add your optional wine and the rice. Toss to combine all the ingredients, then add 3 cups of the broth, 1/2 lemon juiced, and your asparagus. Turn heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add more broth, 1/4 cup at a time, letting the liquid absorb before adding more, until the rice is soft and creamy and reaches your desired consistency (about 3 or 4 additions). Stir in your cheese and the shrimp and serve immediately.