This morning I am sitting here with my cup of tea while E sleeps away his jet lag from his two week business trip to the United States. As I walked down the street to go get some fresh bread from the panificio it seemed as if it would be another beautiful Spring day again. I don’t want to jinx it, but I think Spring is here to stay and I couldn’t be happier. As my succulents and cactus sun bath outside I decided I should start to think about what I will prepare for lunch. First thought was risotto. Risotto! “Why on earth have I not yet posted a recipe for risotto on my blog yet?!”, I thought.
Risotto has a special place in my heart for many reasons, one being I love literally everything that has rice in it, and two because it was one of the first homemade Italian dishes I perfected without any prior disasters. It’s so easy and you can add just about anything to it that your heart desires. I really like to get creative when it comes to risotto.
One thing I always like to keep in my freezer are shrimp. I buy a pound or so and keep them in a large freezer-safe bag for later use when I don’t feel like heading to the store to buy them fresh. It’s perfect for making risotto. Of course I am going to add some sort of green vegetable to the mix because I can’t live well without a good veg. This recipe I will be sharing with you today is a delicious and creamy risotto using zucchini, yellow squash and medium shrimp. You will need some white wine for this recipe so go ahead and pop open a bottle now and pour yourself a glass. Cooking can be fun and relaxing if you make it that way. It doesn’t always have to be a chore.
Risotto zucchine e gamberetti
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cup Arborio rice
half of white onion finely chopped
1 green zucchini chopped
1 yellow zucchini squash chopped
2 handful of medium shrimp cut in pieces
7 cups vegetable broth
salt & pepper
First things first and that is the vegetable broth. It is so easy to make your own vegetable broth, I really can’t stress that enough. You know what you are putting in it and you save money, win-win situation, right? Okay, so quarter of an onion, let’s chop up some stalks of celery and carrots, throw a tomato in there and season as you wish. The more salt you add to the broth the less you have to add later to your risotto. Cover with water and a lid over medium heat for about 30 minutes. BAM! Your own vegetable broth. You can’t tell me that was not easy.
Alright, now you have your vegetable broth in a pot next to your large saucepan that you will now take out on the stove that you will add a good swirl of olive oil and start sauteing your chopped onions until they are translucent, not brown, over medium heat. By the way, you are going to want to use a wooden spoon for this. Time to add your rice and mix it with the onion and oil mix. (I add a few more drizzles of olive oil to make sure the rice is all covered and looks shiny)
After a minute of stirring, add a good splash of that white wine you are sipping on. It makes such a beautiful sizzle sound. Wine aromas are the best. Once most of the wine is reduced then it is time to start ladling your vegetable broth one at a time and stirring it frequently, once the broth is absorbed it is time to add another ladle of broth. Keep doing this process for the next 12-15 minutes. You will begin to see the rice puff up a little but when you taste it the rice will not be fully cooked yet. Add your chopped zucchini and squash. At this point I add the spices also, salt, pepper and a little sprinkle of chili powder. The kick from the chili powder is very much appreciated, trust me.
Shrimp time! I used my frozen ones in this recipe so I defrosted them prior to starting the broth. De-vain and cut the shrimps 1/2 inch pieces. Sautè them in a separate pan until they are opaque in the center. You are still stirring the rice often so as not to make it stick to the pan. I like to think of it as a good arm workout. At this point you want your rice to not be crunchy at all anymore.
Add the shrimp LAST. The warmth of the bed of rice will gently finish to cook them and they will be so delicious and tender it will blow your mind. Taste-test time, does it have enough salt and pepper? Total time for the risotto all really depends, that is why taste-testing is key. Average time altogether is about 20-25 minutes. Take your butter and stir it in to make it creamy. I learned here in Italy that you know you made a great risotto if there is no liquid residue when you spoon it out from the bowl.
Any good excuse to open a good bottle of wine, right? We paired this meal with a Vermentino from Aia Vecchia.
Buon appetito a tutti!