There are many reasons why I look forward to spring. Probably the unanimous reason shared by every Minnesotan is the prospect of warmer weather. After Minneapolis-St. Paul received another 12+ inches of snow this past weekend, we're all thinking... enough already! Being outdoors in my vegetable garden would also be in that top tier of "reasons why I look forward to spring". But what do I really, truly look forward to this time of year as spring approaches?… extended daylight hours!
I made Lemon Risotto with Shrimp for dinner. It was 8 p.m. before we sat down to eat, and any natural light coming through my kitchen window was long gone. I rarely photograph food with the flash on my camera; the results are never good. (Oh, how I miss those sun-lit summer dinners on the patio!) But I really wanted to share this meal with you. Not only was it delicious, but also makes a beautiful presentation. The lemon risotto (made even more lemony-yellow from the orange colored organic vegetable broth I used) along with the large, pink shrimp clustered on top is a colorful dish, and perfect for all of those spring dinners that lie ahead.
…Lemon Risotto with Shrimp…
adapted from Marie Claire Seasonal Kitchen by Michele Cranston
• 4 1/2 cups organic vegetable stock
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2 leeks, white part only, rinsed and finely sliced
• finely grated zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
• 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
• 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
• 16 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail intact
• extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
• flat-leaf parsley, to serve
1. Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat and keep at a low simmer.
2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and leek and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the leek is soft and transparent. Add the lemon zest and rice and stir for 1 minute, or until the rice is well coated and the grains are glossy.
3. Ladle 1 cup of the hot stock into the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has been completely absorbed. Add another 1 cup stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has been absorbed, then test the rice to see if it is al dente. If it needs more cooking, stir in the remaining stock. Lightly fold the Parmesan and half the lemon juice through the risotto. Remove the pan from the heat while you cook the shrimp.
4. Quickly heat a large frying pan over high heat and coat pan with a light film of olive oil. Sear the shrimp on both sides for a few minutes, until they turn pink and begin to curl up. Pour the remaining lemon juice over the shrimp, then remove from the heat. Spoon the risotto into warmed pasta bowls and top with the shrimp. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of parsley.
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