I did it! I made risotto. Well, actually I attempted to make risotto and it came out “okay”. I stress the “okay”. It could have tasted a lot better, but 1) I was lazy 2) I don’t think I had enough liquid on hand and 3) I was freakin’ hungry!
Part of this blog is to not just document the recipes that mean something to me, but also to try new things. Challenge me on techniques that don’t seem easy. Risotto is one of those. I remember always foolishly ordering it at restaurants and having to make the rest of the table wait because a chef in the back was furiously stirring away at some rice and broth. Usually my brother was giving me the evil eye because his paparadelle would have been ready in a few minutes, where as my risotto was still being carefully created. I think that’s why I have always been scared of making it. Also, if I was going to make it at home I felt like I should make my own broth too and that’s a whole new level of patience.
Now, I know you all have probably heard about my unhealthy love for shrimp (on top of my love for lard) and how I overly consume/cook it. So, when I cook shrimp it is usually with the shell on to get the full flavor of it. But sometimes I have a dish that requires me to shell the suckers-which makes me sad sometimes, but then I remember about the possibility of shrimp broth.
I had some left over Asparagus stalks that where too tough to cook, so I froze them along with a bag of shrimp shells. So I decided to combine them and create a shrimp and asparagus risotto. I went out and bought some Arborio rice and started to make my own shrimp broth. Instead of just water, I also used a can of vegetable broth [woah, quantum leap moment – using broth to make broth]. The broth help to make the shrimp flavor more subtle. I do love shrimp, but sometimes there can be too much shrimp.
Now, I still have to learn the secrets to risotto, but the one thing that surprises me is the amount of time it takes. I think I was stirring for like 30 minutes. I felt like it was 7th grade gym all over again. Running a mile and having my P.E. Teacher yelling at me. “Keep stirring…Keep stirring! I don’t care that your muscles are tired. It’s good for you! RUN!!”. Oye, bad memories.
shrimp shells and heads from 1 lb of shrimp
woody ends of 1 bunch of asparagus
1 quarter of an onion
4 cups water
1 can of vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup Arborio Rice
1 medium shallot, minced
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus cut in 1-inch pieces
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
combine shells, asparagus, bay leaf, onion, water, and broth in a large pot and simmer on medium heat until flavor is fully incorporated (about 45 min)
lower heat and keep broth on a low heat
brown shallots and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat in a sauce pan
add rice and stir until translucent and releases a nutty aroma (about 2 minutes)
ladle hot broth, about 1 cup, in rice mixture and stir until liquid is completely dissolved
add another ladle of broth and stir until dissolved
repeat until fully rice is fully cooked.
add asparagus and stir until tender
mix in cheese until melted