My need to try making this dish sprung from all those episodes of Hell's Kitchen and Master Chef, where making the perfect risotto seemed like such a tough task...finally here it is!! I must say, after making it I feel that this is one of the easier dishes I have made, with the key point being that the rice needs to be cooked just right and the risotto should not be too soggy.
For the risotto,
½ pound medium shrimp, in the shell
4 cups chicken stock/water
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 large garlic cloves, green shoots removed, minced
½ cup dry white wine
½ tsp saffron (optional)
1 cup thawed frozen peas
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ cup shredded parmesan
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Shell and de-vein the shrimp. Salt them lightly, and set aside in a bowl, in the refrigerator. Rinse the shells, and combine them with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, skim off foam, and reduce the heat to low and simmer partly covered for 30 minutes. Strain and add to the chicken stock or water. Taste, add enough salt to make a well seasoned broth and bring to a simmer in a saucepan.
In the meantime, heat the oil over medium heat in a wide nonstick pan. Add the onion. Stir until the onion softens and browns. Then add the rice and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the grains of rice begins to crackle. Stir in the wine, and cook over medium heat, stirring. The wine should bubble, but not too quickly. You want some of the flavor to cook into the rice before it evaporates. When the wine has just about evaporated, stir in a ladleful or two of the simmering stock, enough to just cover the rice. The stock should bubble slowly. Cook, stirring often, until it is almost absorbed. Add another couple of ladles of the stock. Crush the saffron threads between your fingers and stir in. Continue to cook, stirring often for 20 minutes. The rice should taste chewy but not hard in the middle. Add the peas and the shrimp. Cook for another four to five minutes, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through but still moist. Stir in the parsley and parmesan and pepper, stir for a few seconds and serve. Enjoy the warm creamy risotto with some roasted vegetables.