Warm and comforting.
Winter finally hit with gusto last weekend. To me, that means it is time to take to the kitchen and make warm and comforting foods.
We each have a different definition of comfort food—a dish that reminds you of Mom or Grandma. Or a rich and creamy flavor that just seems to calm your nerves and warm your soul.
To me, this last weekend, rich and creamy hit the mark! I was craving risotto.
It is definitely not a dish I grew up with—my mom probably had never heard of risotto, much less made it. The creamy rice just seems to shout warm and comforting. This time, it is seasoned with some garlic, some shrimp and peas. (I love peas, but leave out those green guys if you prefer.)
I usually make risotto in the slow cooker. Easy, walk away convenience. This time, however, I had been out running typical Saturday errands and the day was super cold and the wind was howling. I was cold. To the bone, cold. Standing by the stove for those short 20 minutes, stirring in hot broth and making lazy figure 8’s with a wooden spoon was mesmerizing and comforting.
Not hard at all. Plus, making a hot, comforting, restaurant-style dinner in about 20 minutes is quick by dinner standards. If you haven’t made risotto, now is the time to start.
This recipe is from our book, The Newlywed Cookbook: Cooking Happily Ever After. Brew a cup of hot tea or pour a glass of wine to sip as you stir – making it a perfect time to calm down and talk to your sweetie, newlyweds or not. The recipe is in a chapter called “weekends” and this relaxing meal is perfect to serve on a cold weekend.
So warm up—and dish up— a great meal.
Garlic Shrimp Risotto
3½ cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup dry white wine
6 to 8 ounces fresh, shelled and deveined shrimp, or frozen shrimp, shelled, thawed and drained
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Heat the chicken broth in a 2-quart saucepan, over medium heat, until steaming hot. Turn heat to very low, cover and keep the broth warm.
Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper, and wine and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice absorbs the wine.
Set a timer for 20 minutes. Stir about ½ cup of hot broth into the risotto. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed all of the broth. Continue to add hot broth in ½ cup increments, stirring until the rice has absorbed the broth. (Cooking the rice and adding all of the broth should take about 20 minutes. Generally, add broth to the rice about every 2 to 3 minutes.)
Just after stirring in the last of the broth, stir in shrimp and peas. Cook stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes or until the shrimp begin to turn pink. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat, spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with parsley.
Makes 4 servings.
Slow Cooker: To prepare risotto in a slow cooker, spray a 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray. Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan and cook the shallot, garlic and rice as directed above, then pour into prepared slow cooker. Return the pan to the heat and add 2½ cups of chicken broth. Heat until the broth comes to a boil. Pour boiling broth into the rice in the slow cooker and stir well. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring after 1 hour.
Pour the remaining 1 cup of broth into a small glass, microwave safe bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on High (100% power) for 3 minutes or until it boils. Gradually stir boiling broth into the rice in the slow cooker, stirring constantly. Stir in the shrimp and peas. Cover and cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes or until the shrimp are tender and turn pink. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with parsley.
The exact amount of liquid the rice will absorb may vary a little. If after you have stirred in the last of the hot broth, and you wish to make it a little more moist, heat an additional ½ cup of broth until steaming hot and gradually stir it into the cooked risotto. This tip works well for risotto cooked on the stove or in a slow cooker.