If you’re longing for some of those fresh flavors and colors of spring but not quite ready to let go of comfort food, this shrimp risotto strikes the perfect balance. It’s loaded with baby spinach, sweet corn, and cherry tomatoes, and finished with aromatic basil and thyme. I love that my daughter regularly requests this dish, and eats the spinach!
For years, truth be told, the thought of making risotto was downright daunting. How can I possibly be strapped to the stove for 25-30 minutes with little kids? Inevitably one will need something within that timespan. But it was the shrimp risotto from Bon Appétit March, 2003 that forced my hand. I had to give it a whirl. Turned out it was a great opportunity for the kids to have quality daddy time while I stirred with the right hand, wine in the left. 🙂
Over time, I’ve adapted and rewritten the recipe (click here for the original). I essentially doubled the shrimp, tripled the garlic, and added corn, cherry tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and lemon zest. I stick with larger shrimp, as smaller sizes tend to curl and toughen unforgivingly. On the left, the rice is about a third of the way there with a bathing bay leaf. On the right, you’re about ready for liftoff with plump, tender rice and the finishing touches of tomatoes and fresh herbs.
Be sure to keep the broth warm after poaching the shrimp; otherwise, you’ll be stirring rice til midnight. Pour some wine, and enjoy! We also have a few more shrimp-lover entrées. Check out our Paella Stuffed Zucchini with Shrimp and Chorizo, Grilled Shrimp and Chicken Skewers with Honey Sesame Glaze, Baked Tequila Lime Tacos, and Curried Caribbean Chicken and Shrimp with Mango and Caramelized Plantains.Cheers!
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 lbs large raw shrimp, 21-25 count, peeled and deveined, tails removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ cups fresh or thawed frozen corn
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
- ¼ cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- ½ pint mixed cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Salt and pepper
Bring stock to simmer in medium saucepan. Add shrimp and turn off heat. Poach shrimp 2 ½ - 3 minutes until just opaque in center. With a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. Place saucepan with stock back on burner on low heat.
Heat olive oil in a 5-quart, high-rimmed saucepan or heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté onion until tender, 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Add rice and continually stir an additional minute. Pour in wine and cook 2-3 minutes until absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add ¾ cup stock and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Continue to add stock, ¾ cup at a time, allowing almost all of the stock to be absorbed before adding more. After the third or fourth addition of stock, add the bay leaf. Continue adding stock ¾ cup at a time until rice is tender and creamy, about 30 minutes total. Remove bay leaf.
Lower heat to medium, stir in corn. Gradually add spinach by the handful allowing each batch to wilt into the rice. Add the basil, thyme, tomatoes, and shrimp. Cook 1-2 minutes for shrimp to heat through. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.