Monday, May 10, 2010
Risotto with Shrimp and Arugula
Risotto is a classic Italian rice dish . The beauty of risotto is that it is so versatile. Whether it's meat, fish, or vegetables the key to a delicious risotto is using the finest and freshest ingredients that the season has to offer.
Risotto originates in northern Italy, and is quite prevalent in the regional cuisines of Piemonte, Lombardia, and Veneto. When I make risotto I always use arborio rice, which in my opinion gives a nice texture. In Italy, risotto would never be served as a side dish, it is the first course. This risotto with shrimp and arugula is simple enough to do on a weeknight, yet elegant enough to serve on a special occasion with a nice bottle of white wine. While most risotto is served with a generous sprinkling of parmigiano reggiano cheese, notice it is purposely omitted from this recipe. To combine cheese with your shellfish, or any fish for that matter is a cardinal sin of Italian cuisine. If you want to garnish this dish, go for the fresh parsley.
1 lb medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, tail off
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup fresh arugula
2 cups arborio rice
1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbsp butter
vegetable bouillon cube (optional)
In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable broth to a simmer. Keep it simmering while you cook the risotto.
In a large heavy bottom skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then saute the onion and garlic until they soften and take on a nice golden brown color.
Next add the rice to the saucepan, and saute it with the olive oil and onion for a minute or two, so that it gets slightly golden.
Now it is time to add the broth. Using a ladle, Add the broth to the rice mixture. You want to cover but not drown the rice. Stir in the broth almost constantly until it is mostly absorbed by the rice. As the liquid is absorbed, continue to add more. The amount of liquid a rice will absorb varies, but on average it will take about 20 minutes for the rice to reach the desired al dente tenderness. You might use most of the vegetable broth, in the case that your rice needs more liquid, you can dilute the broth with water. You can add a vegetable bouillon cube if you want to give the broth a stronger flavor. Continue the process of stirring and adding more broth until the rice is tender but firm. After about 15 minutes (or when you think the rice is about 5 minutes away from being done.) of adding broth and stirring, add the shrimp to the rice mixture. Continue stirring. When the rice is al dente, the shrimp is cooked through, and the broth has been mostly absorbed, stir in the arugula. At this point your can stir in the last tablespoon of butter to give the risotto a glossy finish. No garnish is necessary except perhaps a bit of freshly chopped parley if you've got it on hand. Enjoy with a nice prosecco or other favorite white wine.