I have been wanting to try risotto for quite some time and finally decided to try it the other night. I am now definitely a fan! I can’t believe I went so long without trying it. I have heard that it can be a lot of work, but I didn’t find this recipe to be much trouble at all. I went to Cook’s Illustrated to find a basic risotto recipe and I used the recipe for shrimp skewers that I used last week in the Broiled Shrimp with Charmoula Sauce and Couscous. What a great combination, and this gave me another shrimp dish to keep making. I am definitely a fan of Cook’s Illustrated. Every recipe I have made from them so far has turned out wonderful. I will definitely be making this risotto again, and I am looking forward to trying different risotto variations.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2-4 ounces pancetta, prosciutto, country ham, or other flavorful cured meat, minced (I
omitted this and used shrimp skewers instead)
2 cups Arborio rice, or medium grain rice
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, combined with 3 cups of water
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup Parmesan cheese, or grated Asiago, plus extra for passing
Heat oil in a heavy pot, 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Add onions and ham; sauté, stirring occastionally, until onions soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in rice and 1 teaspoon salt or to taste. Add 3 cups of the broth/water mixture and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until pan bottom is dry when rice is pulled back with spoon, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add wine, stirring frequently until absorbed. Then add 1/2 cup of the broth/water mixture at a time, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed; cook until rice is creamy but still somewhat firm in center (add more water in 1/2 cup increments if broth/water mixture runs out), 10 to 12 minutes longer.
Stir in cheese. Serve on a wide platter or individual plates with additional cheese passed separately. Top with shrimp.
For the shrimp skewers:
1 1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil for brushing skewers
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Adjust oven rack to highest position and heat broiler. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Thread shrimp onto 3 skewers, alternating direction of heads and tails. Brush both sides of shrimp with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle one side of each skewer with sugar.
Place shrimp skewers, sugared-sides up, on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. (Use tongs to push shrimp together on skewer if they have separated.) Place baking sheet under broiler and cook shrimp until lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip and broil until second side is pink and slightly translucent, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Remove shrimp from oven and, using potholder or oven mitt, carefully lift each skewer from wire rack.
Source: Cook’s Illustrated, March 1994