This Shrimp Risotto is literally a simple creamy and dreamy risotto topped with shrimp. It also happens to be a good recipe for those trying to make risotto for the first time!
I think I have fallen in love with risotto making.
Ever since I discovered I have as much of a knack for cooking as I do baking, I’ve been on sort of a mission to learn as many dishes as possible. In the past year alone I feel like I’ve learned to cook so many things I normally would just think to order from a restaurant (such as this awesome Quick Tantanmen!) so at some point I felt confident enough to branch out from Asian cooking and dip my toes into European dishes.
I’ve put off risotto-making for some time because I’ve always had this impression that risotto is very finicky and intimidating to make. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one because some of my friends, after seeing me post about making risotto on my Instagram Stories, inquired whether risotto was difficult to make. I’m here to tell you that it’s actually not as hard as you might think!
Admittedly there are a couple of “rules” that you should not break when making risotto, but in all honesty, I do not think this dish is finicky at all. It requires some patience mostly, but it’s actually much easier than many (me included) seem to perceive. I feel like this Shrimp Risotto in particular is a good starting point for beginners. It’s an easy one that I think helped me get a good feel for cooking risotto.
Now a little disclaimer before anything: I am not a professional chef. I have not studied Italian cooking. I have not studied cooking, period. I’m not a purist or expert on risotto, but I will say that as a home cook with zero training, the fact that I can make this Shrimp Risotto successfully on my first try means that: 1.) This is a REALLY SOLID recipe from the Immaculate Bites blog; 2.) You can make it too.
And seriously, if anyone is going to get up in your case about this not being “authentic” enough for them, they only need to try this recipe to know how delicious it is. I mean, my brothers demolished all of this Shrimp Risotto in one sitting, so I know this recipe is a keeper. This Shrimp Risotto relies heavily on the flavors of the shrimp, which you cook before cooking the rice. The leftover shrimp juices and bits flavor the risotto quite nicely!
The risotto this recipe produces is incredibly flavorful and creamy. I regret not doing a better job cooking the shrimp (which you will see in the video below lol), but for once I have to admit that it’s hard to care because the risotto is just THAT good. And once I’ve plated the whole thing, I don’t think anyone even notice that I botched the shrimp.
Tips for Risotto-Making Success
While I am not an expert, here are some things I feel have helped me achieve risotto-making success at home. I thought I would share them with you as well just to remove some of that intimidation factor.
- Do not rinse your rice! I know that we Asians typically wash our rice before cooking, but in this special case, washing will only remove the starch from the rice that helps to make risotto creamy. Make sure to buy your rice from a reputable source so you don’t feel nervous about cooking it straight out of the pack. The more common and affordable risotto rice is arborio, which is what I use. I have tried several brands of Arborio rice imported from Italy such as Mazza, Riso Ellebi, and Tarantolla. All of them produce really good risotto. The other kind is carnaroli.
- Use a wide enough pan when cooking risotto. It doesn’t have to be a special pan. It just has to be a pan that’s big enough to ensure almost all of the rice is in contact with the pan itself, helping the risotto to cook evenly.
- Wine adds depth to the risotto, but it’s not strictly necessary. If you don’t have wine, sub with an equal amount of stock. That’s it. Your risotto will still taste amazing (if you do it right).
- Use hot stock. I don’t usually keep my stock at a simmer as many suggest, but I make sure my stock is at least very very warm before I start cooking my risotto. The purpose of this is so that we don’t mess with the cooking temperatures too much by adding cool stock to the hot rice. Warm stock will help release the starch content of the rice, which in turn results in the creamy risotto we all want and need!
- Add the stock in increments, just enough to cover the rice each time. We don’t want to add too much stock into the rice at once because then the rice will have a hard time absorbing it all. You’ll end up cooking the risotto longer than necessary.
- Let the rice absorb 90% of the liquid before adding more. I feel like this is the mistake most impatient cooks make with risotto. They don’t wait long enough before adding in the next batch of liquid. Your patience will be rewarded– just trust me!
- It’s not necessary to stir the rice constantly. While you don’t exactly want to step away from your cooking, you also don’t need to constantly be stirring the risotto for 20 straight minutes. I usually like to stir a little bit after pouring the liquid in just to make sure the rice is evenly distributed in the pan, then I leave it alone for a little bit. Once I see that it’s about to start simmering (tiny bubbles on the surface), I stir it again just to make sure nothing burns or sticks to the bottom of the pan. I also make sure to stir when I notice that most of the liquid has been absorbed, again, just to make sure the rice cooks evenly. Anyway, the point is you don’t have to stir it every single second but be vigilant and make sure nothing gets burnt or cooked unevenly!
- Do not cook the risotto over high heat. Medium is usually what I go for but you will have to adjust the heat depending on the state of your risotto. Just make sure the liquid never goes above a simmer.
- Risotto is usually done in about 16 to 20 minutes. The last thing you want to do is to overcook your risotto, so I suggest starting to check if the risotto is done from the moment the grains look plump and the risotto is creamy. The best way to tell if it’s ready is to give it a taste. I prefer risotto that’s on the softer side of al dente— meaning it has a little bite to it but it should not be as chewy as regular rice. Just the tiniest bit is good though. It should also feel luxuriously creamy but NOT mushy or doughy. To me, the perfect risotto texture is when you can still feel the individual pieces of rice in your mouth, but at the same time they are super duper creamy.
- You can mix the shrimp into the risotto, or simply serve as a topping. This goes for most risotto recipes really. I find that for risotto with meat or seafood as the add-on’s, I like to top them rather than mix them into the rice. It’s prettier this way. For mushroom risotto recipes (which I will share in the future) I like to do half and half, meaning I mix half of the mushrooms in and use the other half as a topping.
For the shrimp
- 500 grams uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) cooking oil
- 4 Tablespoon (57 grams) unsalted butter, divided use
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, divided use
For the rice
- 3/4 cup diced onion
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1½ cups uncooked arborio rice
- 3/4 cup (6 fl oz) dry white wine
- 5 cups (40 fl oz) low-sodium chicken broth, or more as needed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3/4 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- Fresh parsley or basil, for serving
Cook the shrimp
- In a medium shallow bowl, season shrimp with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Heat oil and 1 Tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Add half the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer shrimp to a plate, then return the skillet to the stovetop with all the oils and shrimp sauces still inside.
Cook the rice
- Melt the remaining butter in the skillet. Add onion, thyme, bay leaf, the remaining garlic, and the crushed red pepper. Sauté until onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Stir in rice and toast for 2 minutes. Add wine and 1 cup of chicken broth first. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often, making sure to gently scrape the bottom of the skillet as you go. Once the liquid is nearly entirely absorbed, add another 1 cup of broth. Allow to simmer, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed then add the next cup.
- Repeat this process until all your broth has been used up. It should take about 16 to 20 minutes in total. The rice should look plump at this point though the mixture may be slightly wet-looking. Please do not step away from the risotto while you're cooking it!
- Finally, add the Parmesan cheese (I used a full 1 cup) and lemon juice. Stir to combine and continue cooking until the rice is on the softer side of al dente and the mixture is super creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Give it a taste to see if you're happy with the texture of the rice. Adjust seasonings to taste, and remove the bay leaf.
- Remove from heat and return the shrimp on top of the risotto. Serve garnished with more grated Parmesan and fresh parsley or basil. This dish is great with Julia Turshen's Almond & Lemon Cake as dessert.
Watch how it's made
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