Happy Monday. I hope all of you had a good weekend, and got outside and did something with your family, or close friends. The beaches we’re packed with people just trying to stretch their wings and enjoy some warm weather. I went for my usual beach run, and boy did it feel good. Feeling healthy and eating well is what I’m all about, and one food that I have fallen in love with over the years, is a good bowl of risotto. Risotto is a medium grain rice and does require a tad more attention, than long grain or short grain rice, and it’s well worth it. The trick to good risotto is patience, so the natural creaminess of the grains release into the broth and the become beautifully al dente.
Risotto is one of those things that tastes like comfort food, but doesn’t weigh you down, if you keep your portions in-check. What I truly love about it, is that you can add all different kinds of seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs to make is special, with flavors you’re craving. It’s a bit too soon for summer tomatoes, but cherry tomatoes are gaining traction and I have seen all sorts of red, yellow and orange gems all over the farmer’s market. I’ve also discovered that a cherry tomato seedling replanted itself just under my deck outside in my garden, and is trying to compete with my climbing jasmine. I can’t believe a tomato plant can grown that tall, it’s now about 10 feet high. I’ve plucked some fruit off of it to combine with tomatoes I bought at the farmer’s market to create this dish.
Large or jumbo butterflied shrimp are poached on top of the risotto at the very end of cooking, to release their juices into the broth, and create a perfect consistency for enjoying. The entire meal is done in less than 25 minutes, and the fresh basil on top permeates the aroma of the risotto with every spoonful. I do think it’s the perfect weeknight meal.
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/3 cups arborio rice
3 1/2 cups chicken stock, store-bought or homemade
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoon butter, diced
8 large 0r jumbo shrimp, butterflied
8 fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly
olive oil for cooking
salt & pepper
- In a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, shallot and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute, add tomatoes and stir. Cook for 1 minute and add rice. Sauté for 2 minutes until rice is slightly toasted. Add 1 cup broth and stir. Cook until broth is almost all absorbed, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stir. Add another cup of broth and stir. Continue to cook until liquid is almost absorbed into rice, about 4-5 minutes. Add 1 more cup of broth and stir. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, butter and remaining 1/2 cup broth, stir until creamy. Place butterflied shrimp over top of rice and place lid on top of pan. Turn heat to low and cook shrimp for 3 minutes. Remove lid and stir shrimp into rice mixture. Cook until risotto is al dente, and broth is mostly absorbed, but not dry.
- Ladle risotto into bowls and top with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!