When I read that risotto was this week's theme, I knew that I wasn't going to submit something that was "Italian." I've made plenty of mushroom, seafood, and veggie risottos that are great standbys, but it's not my favorite thing to cook. Too much constant attention is required for one dish, and I lose patience for risotto rice very quickly. I decided to put together a dish that was original, and used a flavor profile that I really enjoy (and have been craving recently): ceviche. A traditional risotto with a few tweaks: avocado and sour cream for smoothness, lime-cured shrimp for some acidity, and an adapted gremolata of cilantro, garlic, jalapeno and lime zest complete the "Italian/Latin American" crossover. This risotto is creamy, light, and fresh. Would be great as a starter to a summer meal, but also holds up as a main course. A note on heat levels: The way that the recipe is described here, it has very little heat. You can amp that up by 1) soaking a chipotle chili in your chicken broth before using it (and straining it out...just like my Zesty Chicken Broth) 2) not removing the seeds from your jalapenos or 3) serving with hot sauce to taste at the end. All up to you! —lechef
garlic cloves, minced
finely minced red onion (about 1.5 cups of rice-sized pieces)
jalapenos, seeded and finely minced
dry white wine
raw, cleaned shrimp, cut into bite-sized pieces
fresh lime juice (juice from 2-3 limes)
fresh chopped cilantro
garlic clove, finely minced
In This Recipe
First off, get your shrimp marinating in the lime juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and add 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro. Stir, and refrigerate while your risotto is cooking. Optional: Add sliced scallops to the shrimp for shrimp and scallop risotto.
As with any risotto, heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Saute the 4 minced garlic cloves for 2 minutes, and add 1 chopped, seeded jalapeno and the chopped onion to the pot. Saute for another 4-5 minutes.
Add the rice and cook for 2-4 minutes. This is always a delicate step when cooking risotto. You want to cook the rice to help it absorb the liquid, but you don't want to overdo it and brown it too much. I've heard that listening for a "popping" sound is a good technique. Other chefs tell you to cook until it is mostly translucent with a white "pearl" in the center. I have never been able to figure out if there is really a good determinant here. I usually cook it until it is just beginning to brown, stirring frequently. Usually 4 minutes or so.
Once your rice has cooked sufficiently, deglaze the pot with the white wine. Scrape up any browned bits from the pan and allow the wine to cook off, about 2-3 minutes.
Next you will add your stock, 1 cup at a time, while stirring constantly. You should always use heated stock, so keep your stock in a pot on low while you are making the risotto. Cold stock stops the cooking process immediately, so always use hot stock! As the rice absorbs the stock, add another cup. Repeat until your rice is tender, about 30-45 minutes, stirring constantly!
Meanwhile, split and peel the two avocados. Slice 1/2 of 1 avocado into thin slices as garnish (1 per plate). Mash the remaining avocado with 4 tablespoons sour cream, and season with salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each).
Make the gremolata: combine 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, zest from 2 limes, and 2 tablespoons seeded and finely minced jalapeno.
Once the risotto has reached a point where it is tender, drain the shrimp, add to risotto along with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice and cook for 1-2 minutes. They won't need much time; just enough to turn them a little pink. Immediately add 1 cup of the mashed avocado, and stir to incorporate. Quickly taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Plate, sprinkle with gremolata and garnish with fresh avocado slice. Finish with a turn or two of fresh black pepper, and serve with your favorite hot sauce. Enjoy!