Food Gold: Improv Risotto

Posted on Feb 24th, 2010 in Food Gold by Mr. Goldbar

One of my favorite things to cook when I have a bunch of stuff in my freezer that I want to put to good use (that sounds much more appetizing than “get rid of”) is a risotto. For this one, I used frozen green peas and some frozen shrimp and I was so pleased with the results I decided to share it with all y’all foodies.

Food Gold Pimp Tip: The name of the game with risotto is to be patient. Each time you add more stock to the rice, it gets creamier and richer but this can only be accomplished by even additions and actually waiting after each addition for the stock to be absorbed. Also, in the end you may want to thin out your risotto by adding extra warmed stock. I like a sorta soupy consistency because by the time you eat it, it thickens up a bit.


  • 4 cups warm/simmering chicken broth/stock set up behind your skillet in a large sauce pan
  • 1 cup or so of warmed water, but you may not need it
  • 1 cup or so of frozen green peas, mostly defrosted
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided + healthy splash of olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, I used a White Burgundy on the rec of local wine shop and it was delicious
  • 3/4 pound defrosted frozen, pre-cooked medium peeled and deveined shrimp. They should be as dry as possible but since they are frozen you just have to do the best you can.
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (zest is made from the rind of the lemon, avoid the pith)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • Special Equipment: large skillet and large sauce pan

    1. Over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. I like to add a splash of olive oil too to guarantee that the butter doesn’t brown too fast.

    2. Add chopped onion to the butter/olive oil mixture, add a healthy pinch of salt and sweat (cook without adding color) until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.

    3. Add rice to onion/butter mixture and coat each and every grain of rice using a wooden spoon/spatula to move things around in the pan. Stir frequently for about 90 seconds to get the rice toasted a bit.

    4. Add white wine, stirring frequenty and let it simmer for about two minutes to cook off the alcohol.

    5. Using 1/2 cup additions each time, add gently simmering chicken stock to the pan. Stir a few times, wait for the stock to be absorbed into the rice before adding more stock. Don’t get lazy, you need to lovingly nurture this risotto. Stir often and always wait for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. Keep doing this until the risotto looks creamy and is al dente. This should take about 16-20 minutes. You may have some stock left over, or you may not have enough stock so add that extra cup of water towards the end to stretch your stock supplies a bit further. One thing you don’t want to do is add plain water to your baby, so be sure you always have a bit of stock left.

    6. Add defrosted, paper towel dry shrimp to skillet. Stirring a few times,  cook 2-3 minutes until they are just heated through. I use the heat from the rice to get them heated. Do not overcook or they will be tough and gross.

    7. Add grated lemon zest, peas and cheese to the mixture. Check for seasoning and add salt/pepper if necessary. Although between the stock and cheese it should be plenty salted.

    8. Before plating, add 1 1/2 or so of butter to the risotto. Stir and see where you are at consistency-wise. Thin out the risotto with extra stock if necessary. You don’t want brick heavy, you want creamy, slightly liquid.

    9. Garnish with extra cheese, give that risotto a nice squeeze of fresh lemon juice and serve!

    As always, I hope you give this a try!

    Fork The World,