Scampi with Lemon Risotto
One of my favorite kitchen appliances is my pressure cooker, and I've been an evangelist for close to two decades now. People think risotto means a lot of standing and stirring, or using your oven and waiting forever; not so with a little technology. Many of my Italian friends make it the very same way, so no need to worry about upsetting traditionalists either. Our Salvador blend lends an earthy counterpoint that ties all the flavors together beautifully.
Scampi with Lemon Risotto
One of my favorite kitchen appliances is my pressure cooker, and I've been an evangelist for close to two decades now. People think risotto means a lot of standing and stirring, or using your oven and waiting forever; not so with a little technology. Many of my Italian friends make it the very same way, so no need to worry about upsetting traditionalists either. Our Salvador blend lends an earthy counterpoint that ties all the flavors together.
1 pound of jumbo shrimp (approximately 20), de-veined and head-off
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for frying
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Salvador N19
Peperoncini, to taste
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 small onion or one large shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups risotto rice*
1/4 cup white wine
3 cups warm water or stock
1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste
Optionally, Parmesan cheese
Chives, for garnish
Pick over and clean the shrimp, removing any debris or missed veins.
Marinate the shrimp in a bag for 30 minutes with everything but the white wine. I usually add a pinch of peperoncini for its heat, but you can use as much or as little as you like.
Prepare a large pan over medium heat and add a healthy splash of olive oil. Add the garlic from the marinade to the oil and cook briefly to infuse the oil, then remove and set aside.
Raise the heat to high, then add and cook the shrimp on each side just until they are pink and barely set in the center, approximately 2 minutes per side for jumbo shrimp. When in doubt, pull them early, you can always cook them a bit more if needed.
Set the shrimp aside in a large bowl, then deglaze the pan with white wine and add the sliced garlic you set aside. Reduce the liquid by half, then add the shrimp to the sauce and toss well to coat.
At the same time as you make the shrimp, prepare the risotto.‡
In a pressure cooker sweat the onion or shallot in butter until translucent (5-6 minutes over low heat), taking care not to brown it.
Add the rice, raise the heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until the grains are lightly translucent as well and well coated in oil (about 2 minutes).
Add the wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, then add the water or stock and lemon juice (to taste). Taste and adjust for salt, then cover and bring to pressure over medium-high heat, reducing to medium-low once pressure is reached.
Cook for 8 minutes, then quick release (either using the running water method which is my preference, or by opening the release valve).
Return the risotto to the heat and stir for about 30 seconds to distribute the liquid and thicken it. At this point you can add some grated parmesan cheese and/or more butter to enrich it.
Serve the risotto in shallow bowls topped with the shrimp. Garnish with chive rings and a bit of fresh lemon.
* My favorite varieties for serving with seafood are vialone nano, followed by aged carnaroli, but any medium grain starchy rice will work.
‡ I prep them both at the same time, but if this is too hectic or stressful you can do the risotto first and hold it at a bare simmer (adding a bit of liquid if it evaporates too much), or prepare the shrimp first and serve them warm rather than hot. Up to you!
Variations & Ideas
• No pressure cooker? No problem, simply follow the directions in this recipe, substituting ingredients and quantities. Start the shrimp about 5 minutes past the halfway point.
• If you'd like to make the shrimp easier to eat, you can pre-peel them. If I do this, I always add the shells to a separate pan with a bit of olive oil and sauté them lightly, then deglaze with wine to extract the rich flavor from the shells. I then add this when deglazing the pan with wine.
• For a great scampi variation that can be served cold, check out my Dali Scampi.
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