Mea culpa

Forgive me, friends. I’m afraid this is the second great fail of 2011.

Not the risotto, mind you, although you could be forgiven for thinking so based on my own bad editing.

Rather, I’ve failed you by holding out on you for so long.

I made this risotto a good month ago, for a birthday dinner in honor of my mother, but couldn’t get my act together to post the recipe. This is, of course, no reason for you to hold out on trying it yourself.

The recipe originally came my way years ago, when my college housemates cooked it for me as part of a surprise birthday dinner, and I’ve only tweaked it slightly, upping the garlic and onions to better suit my tastes and omitting fresh arugula leaves, to make it more easily reheatable, should there be any leftovers (although I’ll go out on a limb and say that there aren’t likely to be).

At any rate, it starts out with my favorite things: a good knob of butter and slug of wine. It’s celebratory, without feeling fussy. Fresh tasting without feeling healthy.

I daresay you should get cooking now.

Risotto with Arugula Pesto and Shrimp

As noted above, I’ve omitted fresh arugula leaves as a garnish of sorts from this recipe. Should you want to add wilted arugula leaves in, simply increase the quanity by a half a cup and reserve them. When you add the shrimp to the risotto, add the remainder of the arugula leaves, too. The heat will wilt them. And, if you’re going for extra fancy, grate some fresh parmesan on the top of the risotto when it’s finished.

2 cups (packed) baby arugula leaves
5 garlic cloves, peeled
6 TBS olive oil
2 tsp grated lemon peel
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 TBS butter
1 small onion, diced finely
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper to taste

To make the pesto:
Combine the arugula and garlic in a food processor and blend until coarsely chopped. Then, with the food processor running, add 4 TBS olive oil and process until the arugula and garlic is finely chopped. Mix in the lemon peel, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the risotto:
Bring the broth to a simmer in a large sauce pan. Cover it and keep it warm over medium heat.

In a dutch oven or heavily bottomed large pot, melt 2 TBS of butter and 2 TBS olive oil. Allow the oil and butter to heat until the mixture starts to shimmer slightly. Add onions and saute unitl tender, but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add rice and stir for 2 minutes, until its translucent.

Add wine and stir the rice until all of the wine is absorbed, approximately 1 minute.

Stir in 1 cup of warm broth and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Cook until the rice is almost tender, adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often and allowing each addition of broth to be well absorbed until adding the next. This will take about 20 minutes. Continue this process until you have about 1 cup of stock left.

Add the arugula pesto and shrimp into the rice and stir. Continue cooking over a medium heat, adding more broth, 1/4 cup at a time until the rice is tender and creamy and the shrimp are cooked through, about 10 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

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Filed under Fish, Starch & Grains, Vegetables

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