I have discovered the reason people love risotto, because I have finally succumbed to the joy of flavorful, creamy arborio rice.
Risotto used to be a mystery to me. I was raised as a pasta girl, and I never understood the hoopla about rice. One of my grandfathers is from northern Italy and he had an obsession with rice soup, and although we shared a name, (Angelo), I didn’t appreciate his obsession. It never occurred to me that he may have been raised eating risotto and rice soup was his comfort food.
Once I finally discovered how to to get the right creaminess, and overcame my many risotto mistakes, it might become my comfort food also, but it’s been a long road getting there.
First let me tell you my risotto catastrophes.
The first time I made risotto, the wine didn’t have enough time to cook down and it made an unfortunate side dish on a particular Christmas Eve. Too much wine, not reduced properly can kill a risotto. The second time I was clueless about chemistry. When the wine hit the frying pan, it created a kitchen accident, namely, an oil geyser that hit the ceiling to spray no less than 40 grease spots. Using two different types of oil paint to finally remove them. I would oil prime, paint and within a few days the grease spots would appear again. And, then there was the DRY risotto. It would look just perfect on the stove and then morph into something else upon serving.
Not to be taken down by something as simple as rice, I continued until I figured it out. Not all risotto recipes are created equally, but what they all lacked was this very simple instruction, “take it off the stove before you think it is ready.” Rice continues to cook and continues to absorb the broth.
And, so now I bring you perfect risotto, creamy, flavorful, delicate, good enough to be the main course.
Fresh Shelled Peas Toasting Arborio Rice
Recipe with Wild Shrimp and Fresh Peas
- 4 tableespoons butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup wine
- 4 cups chicken broth (or shrimp broth) boiling hot
- 1 pound wild shrimp, peeled, deveined
- 1 cup fresh peas (or frozen)
- 1/2 cup parmiggiano reggiano, freshly grated
- Parsley, chopped fine for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground)
- sea salt, pepper
- Shell peas and boil in water for five minutes. Set aside. If using frozen peas, put in at last minute frozen. They will cook in with rice mixture. Don’t put in too early, because you them to retain their bright green color.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in pan, saute onion, just until soft.
- Add rice until it opens up, about five minutes. Add salt, nutmeg. Add in wine and stir until it is fully absorbed. Add in broth, one cup at a time, until absorbed. Continue stirring throughout the process. I keep the broth on simmer until it is gone.
- Once the last cup is nearly absorbed by rice, add in cooked shrimp, peas, cheese. Garnish with parsley. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.
- Cooking Shrimp: I cooked the shrimp in the broth on top of stove, just until poached. Remove and reserve to put in risotto at the end. You can make a broth using the shrimp shells, by boiling shells, and removing right before using.