Risotto Risotto Risotto Let me Count the Ways

February 2007 - From Yahoo 360 Blog: Risotto Risotto Risotto Let me Count the Ways

As the title states, it was a risotto kind of day. My risotto class tonight at WS was a success - but boy, did it wipe me out! I am so exhausted. Who knew making risotto, 3, actually 4, ways could be so tiring. I think it was the stress of cooking it "to order" for my class, and filling in the silence and quiet moments in between stirring, and stirring, and stirring some more, that took it's toll on me. I felt like my thoughts, movements and shtick were not in sync tonight. Luckily, I think, all of the risottos turned out well. The photo is my glory shot of the Golden Risotto with Shrimp, Pine nuts & Golden Raisins. It gets the golden hue from infusing vegetable stock with the shrimp shells, and a generous pinch of saffron. No cheap short cuts using turmeric for me! Not when you work at the best store in the world and they happen to sell saffron!

There are classes where everything just comes together and I feel like everything is flowing and it's so smooth. Then there are nights like tonight where in theory, it should be great, but somehow, I just get stuck somewhere, & my mind and actions are spinning out of control. I felt like I was stuttering and unable to get my mouth to work right. We had several returning "students", who feel like old friends - it's that kind of comfort and ease. But still, I think I just got so nervous waiting out the risotto and the slow and steady rhythm it takes to make it. I always feel that need to fill in the silence. I'm up there, sort of on stage, at the stove, not only cooking but entertaining too. I definitely have performance anxiety! Thank gawd I can cook well!

So here is the recipe for Golden Risotto with Shrimp, Pine Nuts & Golden Raisins. I also made Wild Mushroom Risotto w/Huitalacoche and Cilantro Oil; Savory Risotto "Cakes"; Caramelized Risotto Pudding with Pistachios. I wonder if everyone feels as carb & starched out as I do right now?! To make this a truly Golden Rissotto - alla the DiMedici's - you can add actual edible gold leaf to the individual servings. It raises the price of the portion a lot, but it also raises the WOW Factor!

Risotto Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • Shrimp Shells—from 1 pound peeled shrimp
  • 1 Large Shallot—minced (about 1/2 cup minced)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves—minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 4-6 Saffron Threads (or 1/8 teaspoon Turmeric)
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper—to taste
  • 1 Pound Raw Medium/Large Shrimp—peeled & deveined, reserving shells
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts—toasted
  • 1/4 Cup Golden Raisins—re-hydrate if necessary in hot water
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan, Locatelli or Pecorino Cheese—plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 Tablespoons Parsley—minced (for garnish, optional)


  1. In a 4 quart sauce pot, heat 4 cups of stock and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the reserved shrimp shells to the stock to infuse the stock with shrimp flavor. Steep the shells in the stock for about 10 minutes. Either strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or remove the shells with a slotted spoon. Return the stock to the stove and keep warm over lowest setting.
  2. In a stock pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add in the finely diced shallot and sauté it until it turns translucent—about 1 minute. Add the minced garlic and sauté another 1 minute. Add the Arborio rice and saffron (or turmeric) and stir to coat all of the grains, sautéing about 2 minutes more. The Arborio will begin to take on a golden hue from the saffron or turmeric.
  3. Lower heat to medium and add the wine to the rice, stirring the rice with a wooden spoon until all of the wine is absorbed.
  4. Begin to add the stock to the Arborio rice, 1/2 cup ladleful at a time, until all of the stock is absorbed by the rice. Continue to stir the rice while you are adding the stock. After adding 1 cup of stock, season the rice with the a pinch of salt and dash of freshly ground pepper. Continue adding in stock by the 1/2 cup ladlefuls allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. This will take about 25 minutes.
  5. Add the raw shrimp to the risotto after you have added in 3 cups of stock. Taste the risotto, trying a grain of the Arborio rice to see if it is al dente. The risotto should be creamy in appearance, and the center of each grain will loose its stark white appearance, turning as opaque as the outer part of the grain. The risotto will have also swelled to at least 3 times its size, having absorbed over 3 cups of liquid by this point.
  6. If the Arborio is tender but still has a bit of bite to it, it is done. However, if it tastes of raw crunchy rice, continue to add more stock to the risotto. You may not need to add all of the stock—leaving from 1/2 cup to 1 cup remaining. The finished risotto should be creamy and somewhat loose—but not runny or soupy. The shrimp will have turned opaque and bright pink. Total cooking time, 30—35 minutes.
  7. Once the risotto is done, remove from heat and stir in the toasted pine nuts, golden raisins and cheese. Season to taste with additional salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with minced parsley, if desired. Serve hot immediately. Serve with additional grated cheese on the side.
  8. Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as an appetizer. Reheat left-over risotto in microwave at 2 m


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