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I love taking food that is a blank canvas and making it something tasty with what I have on hand or purchasing very little ingredients. This is how I keep our grocery budget down, experiment with different food combinations, and make healthy homemade meals almost every night! You can too!
My blank canvas for this recipe is Arborio Rice Which is more like a pasta type rice. Very starchy, but a MUST for risotto recipes. You can’t beat the creamy carb goodness of a good risotto! As long as you are using a gluten free chicken stock/bouillon everything else is naturally gluten free.
You guys have a backstage VIP Pass to my kitchen…Although it’s more like a back door invite…way less formal, the way I like it. Anything too fancy makes me uncomfortable.
Anywhoo…back to my refrigerator…I knew I wanted to make risotto this week because I had Arborio rice on hand, leftover frozen corn (which I always keep handy), a red onion, tomato, and extra jalapeño peppers from another recipe earlier in the week. I thought these ingredients would play nicely together. Then I decided on shrimp would be my protein. This, shrimp was the ONLY thing for this dinner I had to add to my grocery list. Using what I already had on hand allowed me to splurge on the shrimp!
This is What you Need:
- 1 – 2 tsp. Olive Oil
- 1/2 Tbs. Butter
- 1 & 1/4 Cups Arborio Rice
- 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
- 5-6 Cups Chicken Stock (warm)
- 12 oz. Large Shrimp (Peeled/cleaned)
- 1 Cup Frozen Corn
- 1 Small Red Onion (Chopped)
- One Medium Tomato (Chopped)
- 2 Jalapeños (Sliced with seeds) – you can remove the seeds if you want it less spicy.
- Salt/pepper for the shrimp
Making Risotto Easy:
I know just the mention of the word ‘Risotto’ can be intimidating. I was you once so I am here as your personal risotto cheerleader. You can do this! Risotto is just another word for keeping an eye on the stove…I made that up, but seriously, it’s not rocket science…You just have to babysit a pan of rice for about 30 minutes.
- I make my stock in a saucepan before I start anything else. And when I say ‘Make my stock’ I mean warm up water and dissolve chicken bouillon in it. That being said; Measure 6 cups of water into a saucepan and add the chicken bouillon (according to package breakdown of bouillon/cup measurement), bring to a boil and make sure the bouillon is thoroughly dissolved. You can also use pre-made stock…just make sure you heat it up. It’s important to use warm stock in risotto. Once it’s warm set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees for the shrimp.
- In a Cast Iron Skillet (if you don’t have one I highly recommend you get one…I use mine so much I keep it on my stove all the time) or heavy saucepan with 1-2 tsp. Of olive oil and add the chopped onion and jalapeños with a dash of salt. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.
4. Next, add the Arborio Rice with the butter and toast the rice. This sounds crazy, but it adds another important flavor profile and enhances that ‘slow cooked’ taste. Make sure you are watching the pan…you are looking for ‘toasted’ not ‘burned.’ This process takes about 1-2 minutes.
5. Once the rice is toasted add the white wine, making sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Let the wine cook down until it soaks into the rice. This won’t take long.
6. Prepare the shrimp (Dry the shrimp as best you can) for roasting by spreading them on a sheet pan lined with parchment and sprinkle with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and set-aside until the risotto is almost done.
7. Now it’s time to get that pan full of stock and make it your best friend for the next 20-30 minutes. Turn the pan on medium/low heat at this point and add 1-2 ladles of stock at a time. You will know when to add more stock when the previous stock has been absorbed by the rice. Keep doing this until all/most of the stock is gone and the rice becomes more creamy than rice-looking. I am at a loss with any other way to explain this transformation…If you can’t tell by sight don’t be afraid give it a taste. The rice should be tender but not mushy. Kind of like an al dente pasta. As you add your last bit of stock you can add the frozen corn and put the shrimp in the preheated oven for 7 minutes.
8. While the shrimp is cooking chop the tomato and place on top of the risotto. When the shrimp is done, immediately remove from the oven and pour on top of the risotto. Juices and all! Don’t let those juices go to waste!
9. I serve this risotto right out of the pan…No fancy plating at our house…Just a big skillet and a big spoon to dish it out! Enjoy!
This looks like dinner tonight! Oh, and don’t be afraid to stray from my ingredients. Pick another protein. Cod or chicken would be great. Add peas or black beans instead of, or in addition to the corn. Swap the red onion for green onion. Instead of tomato add some mango on top with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. You really can’t go wrong as long as you stick with flavors you love and cast your risotto fears aside.
Living life fear-Free (at least in the kitchen),