Risotto for me is one of those dishes that I love but I never think to make or order. Creating this solved a lot of mysteries for me. 1) Risotto is by no accounts a pasta dish. There is no orzo or orzo cousin noodle involved in the making of this dish, but instead specific types of rice that have high starch content and 2) My friend and her boyfriend quite literally translated this recipe in real time from Spanish to English to share with my friends and I on our weekly Zoom call. If that’s not the foremost example of food bringing people and cultures together, I really don’t know what is.
A disclaimer, this recipe is a bit more involved and time consuming than those that typically grace this blog. I think it’s well worth it. There is no crazy prep involved and the time commitment is in the “spoon by spoon” method of adding the broth to the rice– which is well worth it.
A second, much more fun disclaimer, is that the recipe requires a bit of wine. So, why not turn this into an evening and enjoy that bottle of wine while you cook and feast?
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 leek (white part only), thinly sliced
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 1 cup of Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup white wine (drier = better)
- 3/4 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1/2 tbs butter
- Handful of arugula
- Optional- parsley for topping
- Prep first. Chop garlic, tomatoes, and leeks— keep all separate.
- Heat 1.5 tbs olive oil on low in a large pot and add garlic. Stir frequently and right before it starts to brown, add the shrimp and tomatoes (~3 min). Turn heat to medium. Cook till shrimp are done, then set everything aside on a plate.
- In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups chicken broth to a boil, then turn down to low.
- Back in your skillet, heat another 1.5 tbs oil on low. Add leeks and heat till close to browning (~4 min). Add rice and 1/4 cup white wine. Turn to medium.
- Get a ladle. Add one spoonful of broth to the rice and leeks at a time. Wait for it to absorb, then add another spoon. Continue till out of broth. Taste the rice. If not cooked yet, continue with spoonfuls of water till rice is cooked (it took me 3 water spoons). This sound excessive, I know, but optimizes your flavor.
- Once done, mix the plate of shrimp and tomatoes into the rice. Cook for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Add butter, parmesan, and arugula.
- You’re done! Plate with extra parmesan and parsley if desired.
What am I listening to as I cook this? “The Ceiling” by The Wild Feathers
What exactly is risotto? I actually made this an Instagram poll, wondering if it was a silly question, but surprised it was about a 50/50 divide if people thought risotto was a type of rice or pasta. Spoiler alert: risotto is the Italian preparation of rice in broth, and is not considered a pasta. The key to a good risotto is choosing the right type of rice. It needs to be starchy enough to not disintegrate into mush when cooked in broth and subjected to frequent stirring. There are a few usual suspects when it comes to risotto rices: arborio (what I used), carnaroli, and Vialone Nano. I would buy whichever you find readily at stores: for me, arborio was available at Safeway!
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