echo, echo, ECHO… HAP-py New Year!
(horns blow, confetti falls, smooches abound, etc., etc.)
Hi there! How was your New Years? Ben and I had a wonderful dinner at Alba on New Years Eve – Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Chive Gnocchi, and Salted Caramel Creme Brulee for her / Beet Salad, Seared Scallops, and Chocolate Lava Cake for him (!!) – then rang in the new year buried in a floor fort at home.
I had developed somewhat of a stomachache before dinner (which clearly wasn’t bad enough to stop me from eating every last morself of food on my plate(s)), which unfortunately got worse afterwards. So, instead of hopping over to our friend’s shindig, we layered a bunch of blankets on the living room floor, built a fire, and counted down with Times Square at 11pm. I dozed until 11:58, acknowledged the start of the new year in the Midwest, then went to bed. I ROCK!
Yesterday I felt much better though, and kicked 2013 off with a rejuvenating trip to the gym, followed by enjoying my family’s annual pork and sauerkraut lunch, for good luck in the new year. Long story involving the Pennsylvania Dutch. Football rounded out the rest of the day. Hopefully the Midwest can represent a bit better at the bowl games next year, right? Iowa State, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois…come on guys!!
Anyways, it’s back to the grind today! Isn’t it crazy to think, just like that, the holidays are over? The sparkle and shine have all been put away, and it’s Spring Break we’ve all got to look forward to now! Ben and I just booked a fun and fancy little trip for April. Can’t wait to tell you about it!
Oh boy. Take a day off from blogging and this is what you get – a rambling blogger.
ANYWHO, I made a special recipe for you guys today. For whatever reason, over the past couple of weeks I’ve been bombarded with risotto recipes. They seem to be popping up everywhere, and Ben and I ordered risotto three times while in DC. Well, technically he ordered it, and then I ate it off his plate. Aka we ordered it.
In the past I have been uber-intimidated by risotto. All that stirring? Constantly having to pay attention? Did I mention all that stirring??
All the risotto we’ve had over the past couple of weeks have been really, really – I mean really – delicious though, so I decided to put myself up to the challenge of making it at home. The verdict?
The rumors are partway true – yes, there is stirring involved, about 20 minutes total, but NO, this is NOT a fussy, watch-like-a-hawk dish. It’s actually kind of foolproof, provided you don’t walk away to, I don’t know, clean the garage or something while you’re in the middle of making it. In plain English – it’s pretty simple!
Not to mention, Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto is mouthwatering. Creamy, and chewy with just a hint of parmesan cheese. It’s so elegant, and really, all you have to do is stir!
Start the Simple Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto by heating 2-1/2 cups chicken broth in a small saucepan. You’ll be ladling it into the rice, and don’t want to add cold or room temperature broth as it would bring the cooking temp of the rice down. Bring the broth to a boil then turn the heat down to low.
Meanwhile, saute 2 Tablespoons onion or shallot in 1 Tablespoon butter until translucent, then stir in 1 cup arborio rice.
Arborio rice is a short grain rice that releases a lot of starch as it’s stirred and cooked, which results in a fabulously creamy risotto. You can buy arborio rice in bulk at most grocery stores, or find it in the rice aisle.
K! Next add 1/4 cup dry white wine to the rice then stir until nearly absorbed. I used pinot grigio, which added just a touch of wine-y flavor. If you’re worried about serving this risotto to kids – the alcohol in the wine cooks out!
Next start ladling in the chicken broth about 1/2 cup at a time. Add the broth, then stir gently and constantly until the broth is nearly absorbed. Again, this is not HARD, and if you walk away to put a dish in the dishwasher, IT’S OK. Just do your best to stand there and stir like a robot.
My advice? Crank some tunes to help pass the time! I went through 5 or 6 songs while making this entire dish. (FYI, as much as I love me some Hakuna Matata, the Disney songs are for my nephew.)
When you’ve got about 3 ladlefuls left, add 1/2 cup chopped asparagus and continue stirring as normal.
When there’s one ladleful left, add 10 jumbo-sized shrimp then stir until they’re cooked and pink.
I used about 2-1/2 cups chicken broth total. You might need a bit more or less. Just taste the rice and see how the texture is coming along. If it’s tender and chewy – you’re good. If it’s chewy but with a hard center, add more (hot) broth. When the rice is nice and tender, stir in 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Season with salt and pepper then you’re done!
See – that was pretty simple!
Simple Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto
2-1/2 cups chicken broth (may not need all)
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons minced onion or shallot
3/4 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
1/2 cup chopped asparagus
10 jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
- Bring chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep hot.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat then add onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add rice then stir to coat in butter. Add wine then stir until nearly absorbed by rice. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth to pan and stir continuously until broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until nearly absorbed before adding more.
- When there’s about 3 additions of broth left, add asparagus pieces and continue stirring. When there’s 2 additions of broth left, add shrimp and continue stirring. Taste rice and determine if you will need to use all 2-1/2 cups broth to get the rice to a chewy-tender consistency.
- To finish, stir in parmesan cheese then add pepper and salt to taste.
As I mentioned, this dish tastes simply elegant. If you really want to impress someone, even if it’s just your cat, whip up a batch of this risotto!
The creamy rice and shrimp give the risotto substance, too. I was totally full and satisfied after eating a big ‘ol bowl of it.
Let me know if risotto makes ya’ sweat, too, and if you give this recipe a try. I HIGHLY recommend!