May 16, 2010

Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

Urban legend: Risotto is hard to make and those who dare to brave it will become slaves to their stove for hours to stand and stir.

I recently made risotto and when I told people I made it, the answer was always: "But isn't it hard to make? And doesn't it take hours?" No! It is not hard to make. And no! It did not take hours but a mere 35 minutes.

Before taking on this challenge, I did some reading, and I learned that unlike regular rice, risotto can absorb a lot of liquid and that you add about three to four times the amount of liquid to rice. But to make the risotto perfect and delicious, you need to add the liquid warmed in really small volumes, about 1/2 a cup at a time. Before you can add more, you need to wait for the previous liquid to be absorbed.

This was my first time making risotto and it turned out great, but it does require some patience and it's not a fix-it-and-forget-it -- you do need to be in the kitchen and able to stir every few minutes. But trust me, the result was worth it!

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 tsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 6 cloves of garlic (I like a lot of garlic!)
  • about 20 shrimp
  • 10 stalks of asparagus
  • pepper to taste


In a pot, combine the chicken stock and water on medium heat. You want it to be warm when you add it to the risotto because it will absorb better. I used a ladle to transfer the liquid over to the risotto.

In a shallow but large pan, melt three teaspoons of butter on low to medium heat, add garlic and sautee the diced onion until soft.

Add the risotto and coat with the butter until it's "toasted," about three minutes.

Add the wine and stir until absorbed.

Increase heat slightly (I never went past medium) and add in broth-water mixture about a 1/2 cup at a time. Stir frequently until liquid is absorbed before adding more. This process should take about 30 minutes of stirring and adding liquid slowly.

In another pan, melt some more butter and add garlic. Sautee shrimps about 4 minutes until pink. Add chopped asparagus for the final few minutes to soften.

Cook rice until tender and mixture has a creamy consistency.

Add cream, parmesan and pepper and shrimp and asparagus. Stir until mixture is creamy, about 2-3 minutes.

Download a printable recipe for Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

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