One of the best ways to use Maine shrimp is in an easy, main-course risotto. Their delicate texture calls for little cooking time. In this recipe, they are stirred in off the heat as soon as the rice is done. The residual heat of the rice, in a covered pan for about 5 minutes, is all they need.
The shrimp do not need deveining. If you are using shell-on or whole shrimp, be sure to reserve the shells and heads; freeze them for future brothmaking.
Maine shrimp, sold only in winter, are available at BlackSalt Fish Market in the Palisades neighborhood of Northwest Washington (202-342-9101); it's best to order a day in advance.
- 3 3/4 cups Shrimp Broth (see related recipe in Recipe Finder)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
- Pinch fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cups carnaroli rice (may substitute arborio rice)
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives or flat-leaf parsley
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds (uncooked) Maine shrimp, peeled and deheaded (they do not need deveining; if using whole shrimp, reserve heads and shells for broth; see NOTE)
- Coarsely ground black pepper
Heat the broth in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat; keep it hot while you prepare the risotto.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until it is chalky-looking and a white dot is visible in the center of each grain.
Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, until it is mostly absorbed. Add 1 cup of the hot broth and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until mostly absorbed. Add a half-cup of broth and cook, stirring, until mostly absorbed. Repeat, adding the broth in half-cupfuls, until the rice is tender yet still slightly firm to the bite.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup of broth and the chives or parsley, stirring to combine. Remove from the heat and add the shrimp, stirring to incorporate. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
Season the risotto with salt and pepper to taste; serve immediately.
NOTE: To substitute 1 pound of (non-Maine) peeled, deveined and defrosted medium shrimp, cut each shrimp into 2 or 3 pieces. Add them during the last 3 or 4 minutes of the risotto cooking time.
Adapted from "Olives & Oranges," by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox (Houghton Mifflin, 2008).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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