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Risotto

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Risotto
Risottos are usually quite time-consuming to make because you have to stand over the cooking pot and stir constantly while regularly adding small amounts of stock. In some parts of Italy they've discovered that you don't have to go to such trouble in order to end up with a delicious creamy risotto. By simply adding all the ingredients to the pot, then covering with a lid, the risotto will cook by itself without the need to stir at all. In this risotto the distinctive aniseed flavor of fennel mellows as it cooks and its crunchy texture softens, making it an exquisite partner with shrimp.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion—finely chopped
1 medium-sized fennel bulb—trimmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic—finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup white wine
2 cups fish, chicken or vegetable stock
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
16 large uncooked shrimp (prawns)—peeled
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice


HEAT 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onion and fennel for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. ADD the garlic and rice and cook for a minute, stirring to coat the rice with oil. ADD the wine, stock, salt and pepper, bring to the boil then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. SIMMER gently for 15 minutes without lifting the lid. REMOVE the lid, and quickly place the shrimp on top of the rice, then cover and cook for 5 minutes. STIR the reserved tablespoon of olive oil, parsley, cheese and lemon juice through the rice.

Variations: For a shrimp and pea risotto, simply replace the fennel with 1 cup of green peas (fresh or frozen) and use fresh mint instead of parsley.

Tip: You can substitute the fresh shrimp for large precooked peeled shrimp, and add for the last minute of cooking to heat through.



  Mushroom, Bacon and Walnut Risotto. A rustic Italian risotto which combines mushrooms, bacon and walnuts with creamy arborio rice.


  Scallop, Arugula and Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto. Risotto with plump scallops, flavorsome sun-dried tomatoes and peppery arugula.


  Shrimp Fried Rice. A traditional Chinese fried rice dish with fresh succulent shrimp, red pepper, zucchini and green peas.


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