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Creamy risotto takes concentration but the result is worth it

By the Editors of Relish Magazine
Creamy risotto takes concentration but the result is worth it
(Photo: Relish Magazine)

Making a pot of risotto requires practically all of your attention. In addition to keeping the broth at a bare simmer, the rice needs almost nonstop stirring.

It’s not the kind of a dish you can cook in a hurry, but we have never been put off by whatever it takes to make it. In fact, we are mesmerized by the transformation that takes place in the pot.

At the beginning, all there is to see are firm grains of rice simmering in broth. But as the cooking continues and more broth is added, the rice swells and the mixture develops the creaminess that defines risotto.

To make risotto, be sure to use arborio rice, a starchy, short-grain variety once grown exclusively in Italy. It becomes creamy and almost sticky when cooked.

In Italy, risotto, like pasta, is eaten as the first course as part of a meal that has several courses, but a dish like Creamy Risotto and Shrimp can easily be called dinner. It’s that good.

For the best consistency, remove the risotto from the heat when there is still a little liquid visible; the rice will continue to absorb it. Pair this with an arugula salad and a crisp white wine or lighter red like Pinot Noir.

Creamy risotto with shrimp

Serves 4

  • 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon, extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

Heat broth in a saucepan. Keep warm.

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper; sauté 2 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat in oil. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add wine, bring to a simmer and cook until wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 cup warm broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is mostly absorbed. Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring, until rice is al dente, 25 to 30 minutes. Add green peas and cook 3 minutes. Add butter, cream and cheese, stirring until incorporated.

Sprinkle shrimp with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, black pepper and pepper flakes. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet. Add shrimp and sauté just until firm and bright pink, about 2 minutes per side. Serve with risotto.

— Recipe by Matt Moore