Sunday, December 2, 2012

Risotto with saffron and shrimp

Here's a recipe I've been making quite a lot over the last few months. It's pretty quick for a weeknight--lots of stirring but not much chopping-- and leads to plenty of delicious leftovers.

The photo is taken from the very first time I made it, months ago, pre-Italy, when it looked pretty good, but not as good as the last time I made it, which was last week. The first few times I made it, I didn't have quite enough saffron and so the rice wasn't as vibrantly yellow as it should be. My most recent attempt resulted in gorgeous, deep yellow grains, which, combined with the crimson tomatoes, reminded me of Spanish food. I've come to think of it almost as more of a paella, only without the crispy bottom.

This is yet another winner from Firehouse Food. I can make a risotto in my sleep and so can you--they're easy as can be. Don't skip the last step with the butter--it makes all the difference.

Risotto with saffron and shrimp
From Firehouse Food

5-6 c. broth
3 T. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
1 1/12 c. arborio rice
1/2 c. white wine
1 can (14.5 oz) diced Italian-style tomatoes, drained
1/2 t. saffron threads
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 c. frozen peas
2 T. butter, at room temperature
2 T. chopped parsley

Bring broth to a steady but low simmer in a large saucepan.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add rice, stirring to coat all the grains in oil, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the rice becomes slightly translucent, stirring constantly. Pour in wine and cook, stirring, until the liquid is completely absorbed by the rice, 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and saffron.

Start adding broth in 1/2-cup increments, stirring constantly and allowing for the rice to absorb the broth before adding the next ladleful. Keep heat at medium. Continue until the rice is nearly al dente, which should take about 20 minutes. Add water or more broth to your saucepan if you run out.

When you're ready to add the last of the liquid, also add the shrimp and peas. Stir and cook until the shrimp are done, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon into warmed bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.


  1. I ADORE this risotto. One of our favorite Italian restaurants serves this, but I don't think I've ever made it myself. Ina Garten has a wonderful saffron and butternut squash recipe that I love, too, and I do make that all the you've got me craving risotto!

  2. As soon as the rain lets up, I'm going to get some shrimp and try this! Thanks!

  3. Sue: I like the sound of Ina's recipe (of course--she's the best!).

    Zoom: Let me know how it works out!

  4. Saffron really makes the difference, I agree. In the past, I use to be stingy about the saffron because it's so expensive, but when I started to add more than what the recipe says, it really turns out better because you can taste more of the saffron and the color is amazing. Your dish looks perfect, especially those meaty shrimp!

  5. i'm just mad about saffron. saffron's mad about me. actually, i don't think i've ever tasted saffron, but it's a catchy song, right? :)

  6. Ben: Yeah, I've skimped many a time due to thriftiness but I think it's worth splurging--for the color alone!

    grace: You should try it!

  7. I had the same problem with saffron when I used it to make Faith's recipe for her new cookbook. Next time I'm using more. This looks great! Will try it, with plenty of saffron!

  8. Love risotto, and I'm taken with the Spanish twist here. Paella risotto? Why not?

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