If you’re looking for those fresh flavors and colors of spring but not quite ready to let go of comfort food, this Shrimp Risotto with Spinach and Asparagus strikes the perfect balance. It’s loaded with baby spinach, blanched asparagus, and sweet corn, and then finished with aromatic basil and thyme.
Truth be told, for years the thought of making risotto was downright daunting. How can I possibly be strapped to the stove for a half hour with little kids? Inevitably one will need something! But it was the shrimp risotto from Bon Appétit March, 2003 that forced my hand.
Turned out it was a great opportunity for the kids to have quality daddy time while I stirred with the right and wine in the left. And that was, a-hem, a good 15 years ago. 🙂
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How to Make Shrimp Risotto with Spinach and Asparagus
I changed Bon Appétit’s recipe quite a bit, and you can make further changes if you like. For instance, you can substitute arugula or another leafy green for the spinach, and broccoli or zucchini for the asparagus. Use whatever is in season and is the freshest. After all, recipes are really just starting points!
Large, 21-25 count per pound shrimp work great in this recipe. They’re poached in broth which is then used in the risotto. The shrimp become tender and plump in less than three minutes, and will join the risotto party once the rice is soft and creamy.
You’ll also blanch the asparagus separately until crisp tender and add it at the end as well. This ensures Goldilocks results with your shrimp and asparagus, cooked just right.
Now, it’s time for the rice! I like using a large, high-rimmed sauté pan for risottos to have lots of room to stir. Before you know it, the short-grain arborio rice will plump up in volume and you’ll need space when adding the other stars of the show to the risotto. Below is at the point where the rice was added to softened onions and garlic, and has absorbed most of the wine.
Fast forward after a few additions of broth, and you can see the rice has begun to expand and take on a creamier texture. I like adding a bay leaf at this point for even more flavor.
Once the rice has become soft in the middle of the grain, and is nice and creamy, wilt in the spinach, and add the shrimp, asparagus, corn, parm, lemon zest and herbs to get all happy together.
There’s never a shortage of parm in our house so I’m not shy when it comes to adding more. All you need to do now is grab your utensil of choice (a spork would be best) and dig in! Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
Want more risotto?! Check these out!
Plus here are more gluten-free dinners you can have on the table in less than an hour!
- Sesame Beef Stir Fry with Asparagus and Sweet Potato
- Sheet Pan Roasted Halibut with Green Beans and Mushrooms
- Sautéed Caramelized Salmon
- Healthy Turkey Chili
- Mocha-Rubbed Sirloin Steaks
- Lamb Burgers with Lemon Feta Tzatziki
Essential Kitchen Tools
- 5-quart high-rimmed pan with handle – this is a go-to pan for all kinds of recipes
- 7-inch Santoku knife – a sharp knife makes chopping a breeze
Shrimp Risotto with Spinach and Asparagus
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 lbs large raw shrimp, 21-25 count, peeled and deveined, tails removed
- ½ lb medium asparagus spears, trimmed of woody ends
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2 packed tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Salt and pepper
- Bring stock to simmer in medium saucepan. Add shrimp and remove from heat.
- Poach shrimp 2 ½ 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.
- Meanwhile, blanch asparagus in simmering water until crisp tender, 3-4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
- Transfer asparagus to cutting board and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces. Set aside.
- 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, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Add rice and continually stir another 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 liquid 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, 25-30 minutes total. Remove bay leaf.
- Lower heat to medium and stir in corn.
- Gradually add spinach by the handful allowing each batch to wilt into the rice.
- Add the shrimp and asparagus. Cook 1-2 minutes to heat through. Remove from heat and stir in basil, thyme, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
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