Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's a Very Merry Christmas Risotto!

Christmas cards are just one of those things; either I get them out far too early, or, not at all. I only start feeling bad about not sending them out a week before Christmas, when my mailbox is stuffed full with beautiful greetings from my much loved family and friends. This year, my lovelies, there will not be a card from me in your mail box, so I sincerely hope this red and white risotto brings as much cheer or more. Try it - I know you'll love it! And please don't let the long name deter you from cooking risottos - they are much easier than you might imagine. (And who doesn't love a fancy shmancy dinner in about 30 minutes?)

Creamy Asparagus and Sundried Tomato with Asiago Risotto,
topped with Shrimp and Scallop Scampi
Serves 4 - 6
3 + 2 tbsp tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, finely minced
1 lb Italian Arborio Rice
about 1.5 liters of good quality, low sodium chicken stock
about 1/3 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
a bundle of thin green asparagus, stalky ends removed and chopped into fine discs, leaving tops intact
10 sundried tomatoes in oil, drained, patted dry and diced
For the shrimp:
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
about 1/2 lb each raw, peeled, deveined shrimp and scallops
juice or half a lemon
Since risottos require constant, gentle stirring, make sure all ingredients are measured out, chopped, ready to go before beginning to cook. Get the chicken stock to a good simmer on a separate burner, leave it on low temperature until it's been used up in the rice.
Now, begin with a large saute pan or stock pot. Melt 3 tbsps butter on medium - low heat, then add the minced shallots and allow to cook until softened. Do not brown.
Add all the rice, stir and cook until the butter has absorbed into the rice.
Using a ladle, scoop one ladleful of the hot broth into your rice, stirring constantly until it's about 95% absorbed, then add your next ladle.
Repeat until the rice is cooked al dente if you like, or creamier if that's more to your taste, adding the chopped asparagus to the hot broth pot about half way through to gently cook it (the risotto should take about 25 minutes from start to finish, so toss the asparagus into the broth at about 15 minutes into cooking). Keep the heat for the rice on low-medium, so the broth doesn't absorb too quickly, other wise you'll end up with a gluey, yet still yummy, mess.
Side note: you may not use all the broth, at about 20 minutes into cooking, start tasting the rice to check for doneness. Check every couple minutes after that.
When the rice is done to your liking, remove it from the heat, and add in the chopped sundried tomatoes, 2 tbsp butter and shredded asiago.
For the Shrimp Scampi:
Rinse and pat the seafood nice and dry. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, take out a second saute pan, heat 3 tbsp of butter on med - high, then add the garlic, saute for about 30 seconds. Quickly add your shrimp and/or scallops, cook just until the color changes to pink (please don't over cook!). Add the fresh lemon juice, and you are done.
To plate the risotto, spoon rice into a deep plate, drizzle with a little olive oil, and top with shrimp and scallops. Have additional asiago available at the table for the cheese lovers in your family.
Wine suggestion: Jackson Triggs Riesling

1 comment:

Lukrisi said...

Oh... I feel appropriately greeted for Christmas now!

That looks wonderful and I can't wait to try it!!!