Thursday, February 3, 2011

mushroom and asparagus risotto with sauteed tiger shrimp

Anybody watch Top Chef All-Stars? It's one of my favorite shows and this week's episode featured an Italian challenge. It inspired me to make one of my favorite dishes -- shiitake mushroom and asparagus risotto with sauteed jumbo shrimp.

Half a pound of jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (I use black tiger shrimp)
1.25 cups of Arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup of dry white wine (I use pinot grigio)
1 large shallot (finely chopped)
1 cup thin asparagus (bottoms peeled and sliced into 1/4" pieces, leaving the tops about an inch long)
1 cup shiitake mushrooms (sliced 1/4" thick)
1/2 cup grated parmesan or any other hard, salty italian cheese you prefer
6 tablespoons of sweet cream butter
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

  • Boil chicken broth and water. Add asparagus and allow vegetable to cook until crisp. Then remove the asparagus from the broth. Place in large bowl and immerse in cold water to stop cooking process. Keep the broth in a very low simmer.
  • Heat oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in large saucepan. I like using my 4qt. Le Creuset pot. Once butter is all melted, add shiitake mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are light brown. Season with a pinch of kosher salt. Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add about 2 tablespoons more butter in saucepan. Once melted, add the chopped shallot and cook until soft and transparent. I like my shallots well cooked, so for me, this takes about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add Arborio rice to shallots and cook for a couple of minutes stirring frequently.
  • Add white wine and cook until absorbed. If you're like me, I'd put a little more than the recipe calls for. Can't blame a girl for liking her white wine!
  • Keep rice mixture on a rapid simmer. Add about a half cup of broth. Simmer and stir until absorbed. Keep adding broth 1/2 - 3/4 cup at a time, waiting until the previous addition has been absorbed before adding another. Stir frequently. Continue to do this until the rice reaches a soft, creamy consistency. Warning: this part of the process takes a little patience.
  • Once rice is creamy and soft,season it with kosher salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add a bit more butter if you prefer.
  • Add parmesan and combine well.
  • Carefully add mushrooms and asparagus. Cover and set aside.
  • In a separate saucepan, melt the last 2 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add the shrimp and saute until cooked. Shrimp should be opaque.

Plate risotto with the shrimp arranged on the side. Serve immediately. Yummy, yummy! The heartiness of the mushrooms with the light wine sauce of the risotto is wonderfully tasty. And the shrimp, simply sauteed in butter, makes for a delicious compliment.


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