Happy Mother’s Day!
Years ago, I made the decision to go with non-stick cookware, but certain dishes are just better prepared in a regular pan. Although iron skillets usually fill that gap, this All-Clad saute pan has been on my wish list for a long time. I was super excited to get this for Mother’s Day. I took it out for a spin last night with a simple shrimp saute to go with the risotto of the day. (I’ve been on a risotto quest, lately)
This risotto quest started a few weeks ago when Christo, from the blog Chez What , posted a series of beautiful risotto dishes. Christo’s blog is fabulous and full of his beautiful food creations and while he’s good to describe his dishes, he’s a little elusive with his recipes. This post was no exception, though he did share his risotto secret when he said that Carnaroli is THE rice to use for risotto. (be still my heart!) Perfect risotto has always been a gamble for me, so the quest for Carnaroli rice was on. I finally found both Carnaroli and Vialone Nano rice and tried them both since several authentic Italian risotto recipes I read recommend one or the other. Having the right rice was only half the battle. I had to try a few recipes to play with my new rice. After sampling several recipes, we found that the ones that start with 2 tablespoons of butter are the ones that turn out reliably delicious. The recipes in one of my favorite Italian cookbooks: La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy all have their fair share of butter in them, so I know I’m on to something. The recipe I’m sharing is, in my humble opinion, the perfect risotto. BTW, he was right about the rice – thank you Christo.
This scampi-ish dish with asparagus and saffron risotto only took about 3o minutes to cook, but it was a busy 3o minutes. I was barely able to sip my wine while I cooked and was thankful I had the ingredients thoroughly prepped! It was so worth it. One of those meals where you really enjoy the dinner music because you’re too engrossed in eating to talk about the weather. Dinner conversation consisted of little one word sentences describing the flavors . . . little else. I love meals that turn out that good.
The next morning, you can warm the leftover risotto and top with chopped bacon and chives. (OMG, delicious) If you’re feeling feisty, add a poached egg. So satisfying.
Shrimp & Asparagus
Prep all the ingredients. The shrimp, herbs and lemon can be put in one dish. This part goes fast so I did it as the risotto was finishing.
Hint: turn the music up loud and wear an apron. :)
- Olive Oil
- Asparagus (for two)
- Raw shrimp (for two)
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic – chopped
- 2 Tbsp chopped basil
- 2 Tbsp chopped Parsley
- 2 Tbsp chopped chives
- 1 Tbs lemon juice and a few drops of Pure Lemon Oil or lemon zest
I preheated my lovely new pan on lowish medium before adding a small amount of olive oil. Cook the asparagus for a few minutes on both sides, then scoot to the sides of the pan and add the shrimp, herbs and lemon juice to the middle of the pan. Drizzle a little more EVO oil if necessary and flip the shrimp to get them pink on both sides. Plate both on warm risotto.
Epicurious – Serves 4
- 4 Tbsp butter divided
- 3 to 4 cups chicken broth heated (can substitute dry white wine for part of this (I do that) You can also use other types of broth)
- 1 cup Carnaroli, Vialone Nano or Arborio rice
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Saffron threads – optional
- Salt & Pepper
Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add rice and stir for a minute. Add the broth 1 cup at a time and stir until absorbed. If you are adding saffron, add it with the first cup of broth. You can give the stirring a rest from time to time, but you have to stay on task for the most part to get a good creamy texture. After all the broth is absorbed, taste the risotto. You want it to have a chewy texture, but creamy and pretty loose. (it will tighten up a bit after cooking) You can add a little more broth and continue cooking if desired. I found that 3 cups was perfect almost every time.
Once the rice is tender and creamy, pull it off the heat and add 2 tablespoon butter and 1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Stir the risotto vigorously until the butter and cheese are blended in. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Serve at once on warmed plates or hold for the briefest time possible before plating with other ingredients.