On the tiny artists’ island of Burano near Venice, I was served a first course of shrimp risotto that simply beguiled me. As soon as I returned home I set about re-creating this achingly fresh dish. Many pounds of rice later, I hit upon a recipe that I believe comes close to the original.–David Leite
Always make sure there’s enough liquid to cook the rice; it should bubble gently like old-fashioned oatmeal. If it dries out or becomes clumpy, add more stock or water to correct.
Shrimp Risotto Recipe
Hands-On Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes | Makes 6 appetizer or 4 entrée portions
- For the shrimp stock
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Shells from 3/4 pound medium shrimp (reserve shrimp for risotto recipe, below)
- 2 small carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 small onions, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 7 cups cold water
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
- For the risotto
- 3/4 pound medium shrimp, deveined and chopped into small pieces
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided as specified
- 1 tablespoon yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 cups high-quality imported Arborio rice
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- Shrimp stock
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Make the stock
- 1. In a heavy stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp shells and vegetables; cook about 15 minutes, until the shells are deep orange.
- 2. Stir in the tomato paste, and mix well.
- 3. Add the cold water and bay leaf. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
- 4. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve (or a colander lined with several layers of cheesecloth) into a clean pot. Return the strained stock to the stove, and heat to a bare simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Make the risotto
- 5. In a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. When foaming stops, add the shrimp and saute until light pink, 2 to 3 minutes.
- 6. Remove the pot from the stove. Dump the shrimp in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and process until coarsely shredded, about 5 to 7 pulses.
- 7. Return the saucepan to the heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the butter, and saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, and cook a few minutes more.
- 8. Add the rice, and stir until well-coated with the butter. Saute lightly for a few moments until the rice starts to turn translucent, then add the wine and stir constantly until evaporated.
- 9. Begin adding the stock by the ladleful (about 1/2 cup), stirring constantly until the rice is creamy and al dente, about 25 to 35 minutes.
- 10. Stir in the shrimp, remaining butter, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Shrimp Risotto Recipe © David Leite. Photo © Dan Tucker. All rights reserved.