It’s Friday! I’m having a great workday at home that involves a lot of cooking, and I JUST finished making a batch of this dish for a client. I made it for the first time last week for our dinner, and DAYUM flavortown is upon us with this one.
So, I added it to my catering weekly menu and sold a couple of batches.
We’re making a plain risotto. Then we infuse it with a quick homemade pesto. Then we top it with seared shrimp in white wine butter and roasted tomato sauce.
I mean, please. PLEASE. Don’t stop the beat. And all that jazz.
Let’s make it!
For the risotto, you need Arborio rice, butter, garlic, onion, cherry tomatoes, veg or chicken stock, shrimp (mine are thawing in water here), lemon wedges (zested, wait for it), fresh parmesan, white wine, and fresh spinach.
Risotto takes about half and hour to make, which is SUPER CONVENIENT because roasting tomatoes takes about the same amount of time. So, let’s start the tomatoes first! Halve the cherry tomatoes and toss them on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Stick them in an oven at 400F while you make the pesto and risotto.
Add the basil, parm, garlic, lemon zest, and toasted pine nuts to a small food processor.
Zip the pesto until it’s smooth – if it’s really thick add a drip of water to thin it out. Taste the pesto, and add some salt if you think it needs it.
Now, stir the rice until the wine cooks out completely, then you know the drill! Add stock 2/3 cup or so at a time, stir until it’s gone, then repeat until you’ve used about 4 cups of stock. I like to do half stock and half water, but if you’d like to use all stock try to get the low sodium kind – otherwise your risotto may be too salty.
Shave the parm into thin pieces, too. Pretty for garnish! I do all these little extra steps in between adding and stirring – you only need to stir the risotto about half the time, so the rest of the time is perfect for getting the other ingredients ready!
Now, taste the risotto to be sure the rice is cooked after about 25 minutes of adding stock and stirring. When the rice is cooked through, turn a separate skillet to medium-high heat for the shrimp, and add the pesto and spinach to the risotto.
As soon as you turn the shrimp, add the reserved wine to the pan and stir to scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.
Enjoy this. Enjoy Friday. Enjoy the WEEKEND.
- FOR THE PESTO
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt, to taste
- FOR THE RISOTTO
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- salt, to taste
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 cup white wine
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
- 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, tails removed, deveined
- fresh parmesan, toasted pine nuts, and lemon wedges, optional, for serving
- Roast the tomatoes. place the tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on just a pinch of salt. Roast at 400F for 30 - 40 minutes until the tomatoes are wilted and slightly charred.
- Make the pesto. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor or blender and puree. Taste, and add salt to your preference.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, make the risotto. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, the onion, crushed red pepper, and a sprinkle of salt to a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring, until the onion softens but doesn't turn brown at the edges. Add the garlic and rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, to soften the garlic and coat the rice in the butter. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the wine and stir until completely absorbed. Then, stirring as you go, add the stock 2/3 cup at a time for about 25 minutes until the rice is cooked through.
- When the risotto is done, heat a separate skillet to medium-high heat with the remaining tablespoon of butter for the shrimp. Stir the pesto and spinach leaves into the risotto and turn off the heat.
- Add the shrimp to the hot pan and cook for 1 minute on each side until just browned, then flip. As soon as you flip the shrimp, add the reserved wine to the skillet and stir. Cook the shrimp for 1-2 minutes more until just cooked through and most of the wine has evaporated.
- To serve, make a bed of the risotto. Top with a few shrimp, and garnish as desired with parmesan, pine nuts, the roasted tomatoes, and a lemon wedge.