Thursday, February 25, 2010

Maine Shrimp Risotto

A half pound of Maine shrimp, peeled and deveined, and wonderful home-made shrimp stock were waiting in the fridge to be converted into a risotto. Ideally, I would have made it with saffron, but I was out of it, so I looked into a different spin: roasted red peppers. One of my favorite store-bought food items is the sweet tasting red pepper spread from Trader Joe's own brand; combined with some kick using spicy red pepper flakes the risotto taste, color and texture was rounded out.

Ingredients (1 Portion):
1/4 cup Arborio rice, washed and rinsed
1/2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion or 1 shallot, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
splash of dry white wine
1/2 TB red pepper flakes
1 - 1 1/2 cup of shrimp stock (see recipe below)
1/2 cup of fresh Maine shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 TB Trader Joe's red pepper spread
salt, pepper to taste
2 TB fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1) Heat the olive oil in a heavy sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sweat until translucent. Then add the washed rice, stir and toast for 30 seconds on medium heat. Now, add the white wine, and wait until it is cooked off. 

2) Turn down the heat to low, and start ladling in 1/4-1/2 cup of hot shrimp stock to the risotto. Cook the risotto gently on low heat until the liquid is evaporated (4-5 min). Also add the red pepper flakes. Once the stock is cooked off, add another 1/2 cup of hot shrimp stock. Repeat until the rice is soft and cooked (about 20 min).

3) Add the red pepper spread, and the raw shrimp and cook another 3-4 minutes  until the shrimp are just cooked. 

4) Add the parmesan cheese and gently stir in. Serve!

Shrimp stock:
One advantage of buying fresh Maine shrimp is that peeling them makes for a good amount of shrimp shells and a perfect basis for home-made shrimp stock.

shells of 1 pound of Maine shrimp
1/2 onion, peeled and cut into big chunks
1 TB juniper berries
1 TB pepper corns
2-3 peeled garlic cloves
1 fresh bay leaf

Bring to a boil, and cook on ultralow heat (a bare simmer) for 2-3 hours. Discard shells, and sieve the stock. Freeze or keep in the fridge until use. 

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