Shrimp Risotto with Chive Gremolata

Growing up, risotto was a comfort food that my mom made often.  Nowadays, I often associate comfort food with being really easy to whip up.  While risotto can be a bit more time consuming than my stand by comfort food choices, it is still a winner nonetheless, especially this variety.  This is one of my top favorite preparations, and it’s good in any season.  Also, I always have a bag of frozen shrimp on hand, as well as many of the other ingredients, making it a rather cheap dinner!

for the stock, you will need:
1 lb. medium shrimp
2 cups water
1½ cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped leek greens, well rinsed of sand
9 black peppercorns
4 sprigs parsley
2 bay leaves

for the risotto, you will need:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped leek whites, well rinsed of sand
1 cup arborio rice
¾ cup dry sherry (or other white wine)
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Peel and devein the shrimp and set aside.  Place the shells and remaining stock ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh colander into a bowl.  Discard solids and return stock to saucepan over low heat.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the leek whites and sauté for 2 minutes.  Stir in rice and sauté 2 minutes more.  Do not allow rice or leeks to brown.

Deglaze the pan with sherry, stirring until liquid evaporates.  Add ½ cup of warm stock, stirring frequently until absorbed.  Continue this process until all of the stock is used and the rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir in the peas and shrimp.  Cook until shrimp are pink and firm, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt, cayenne and nutmeg.  Turn off the heat and add in the remaining butter and the parmesan cheese.

Serve in bowls and garnish with chive gremolata.

for the chive gremolata, you will need:
3 strips thick sliced bacon, crispy and diced
2 tablespoons minted fresh chives
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon minced garlic
salt to taste

Cook the bacon how you prefer (I just microwave mine) and let cool.  Chop the bacon and combine with chives, parsley, lemon zest, garlic and salt.

serves: 4
time: about 45 minutes to 1 hour
from: Cuisine at Home

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