The nice thing about this recipe is that it takes well to variation. You can substitute spinach for the chard, or toss in some peas toward the end of cooking, or leave out the shrimp and stir in some grated cheese if you want a vegetarian version.
- 8 ounces (1 bunch) rainbow chard
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into thin slices and rinsed well to remove any grit
- 1 medium clove garlic, lightly crushed but left whole
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups uncooked arborio (short-grain) rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 6 to 7 cups fish stock, vegetable broth or low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
- 12 ounces large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut crosswise into thirds
- Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 small lemon (2 to 3 teaspoons zest; about 3 tablespoons juice)
Cut the stems from the rainbow chard leaves and slice them crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Coarsely chop the leaves. Reserve the stems and leaves separately.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir in the chard stems, carrots, leeks, garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring from time to time, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables have begun to soften. Add the chard leaves and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the leaves have wilted, stirring the pot occasionally to prevent the vegetables from sticking. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Remove the garlic.
Pour the rice into the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the grains turn shiny. Increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the wine. Cook for a minute or two, until the wine has evaporated. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low to maintain a gentle bubbling and pour in a cup of the stock or broth. Cook, stirring often, until the broth has been absorbed. Add 1/2 of the stock or broth and stir until it is absorbed. Keep adding stock or broth, 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is almost cooked through; this will take about 20 minutes.
Add the shrimp, lemon zest and half of the lemon juice to the pot and stir well. Add a little of the remaining stock or broth; cook for about 5 minutes, until the shrimp are just cooked through. Taste and add the remaining lemon juice if you want a more pronounced lemon flavor. The risotto should be a little loose at the end of cooking, so add a splash of stock or broth if necessary to keep the risotto from becoming clumpy. (You may have a little broth left over.)
Ladle the risotto into shallow bowls; serve hot.
From Alexandria cookbook author Domenica Marchetti and her daughter, Adriana Vance.
Tested by Domenica Marchetti and Adriana Vance.
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