June 29, 2022

A la Carte: Lemony Shrimp and Risotto Makes a Luscious Entrée

Lee White

I used to wonder about people who won’t go out if the weather is crappy, especially if it is snowing. I grew up where there is snow most days from mid-November until the end of March. I don’t remember having any snow days, but maybe we did.

In any case, I never saw a school bus and, to this day, I have never been on one. From kindergarten until junior high school (now called middle school), I walked to school, came back for lunch, then back to the school until it was time to go home. Walking.

My parents decided, after junior high school, that I would go to a different (but still public) high school. It was about seven miles from our house, so my father drove to school every morning. After school, I walked through RPI, down gazillion steps (called The Approach) into the city, then often took a town bus home.

And this was before 4-wheel, or all-wheel-drive, cars. I can still hear the sound of chains on the tires of cars and buses. Today I can’t imagine not having an all-wheel-drive car.

I also can’t imagine not going out if I want to make something for which I don’t have in my freezer, refrigerator or pantry. But when I went to bed last night, I thought I’d wake to snow or ice or heavy rain; I knew I had the shrimp, the rice and most everything except a bulb of fennel and the arugula.

Had I decided I wouldn’t go out in the crappy weather (I am one of those people, these days), I would use some fresh parsley and leave out the fennel. As it turned out, it was 47 degrees, had not snowed and there was not a chance of freezing rain.

A quick trip to the market and I had all the ingredients for this luscious entrée. And, by the way, it will be almost as good in the microwave the next day.  

Lemony Shrimp and Risotto
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
2 teaspoon kosher salt (I use sea salt), divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 small fennel bulb, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large clove garlic, smashed and peeled and chopped
1 cup arborio rice (about 6 ½ ounces)
¼ cup dry white wine
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
Zest of 1 large lemon
3 cups arugula

Yield: 4 servings

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shrimp and sprinkle with ½ teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until shrimp is just opaque in the center, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from the heat. Transfer shrimp and juices to a bowl to cool.

Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the pan. Add fennel and onions. Cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until aromatic, 30 seconds. Add wine.

Cook until wine is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add broth, lemon juice, zest and remaining salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to a boil, stirring often.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until rice is just tender, but still has some chew and the risotto is creamy, stirring often, 13 to 14 minutes.

Mix in arugula. Stir until arugula wilts, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp. Mix in additional broth, if needed, ¼ cup at a time, until risotto is creamy.

Spoon risotto into 4 shallow soup bowls.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years but now lives in Groton, Conn. Contact Lee at leeawhite@aol.com.