Most of the Italian recipes I see today are for pizza and pasta, but I’ve done some research and found that rice is actually a bigger seller—which makes sense, because rice is eaten around the world. It could even be more popular than pizza or pasta. So, while pizza is still No. 1 in my book, we’re going to talk about rice today. Making risotto is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy. Risotto is a rich and creamy dish that, when cooked right, is still al dente with separated grains. It’s very versatile, allowing you to add a variety of cheeses, meat or fish. Below is a risotto recipe I’ve put together called Risotto alla Susie. With the addition of shrimp, you can sell this dish as an entrée. In the future, look for my recipe that incorporates both pizza and rice. And, by the way, if you can’t cook this easy dish, you’d better stick to pizza!
- 12 oz. fresh shrimp in shells (washed)
- 5 c. water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 sprigs of parsley
- 1 tsp. whole peppercorns
- 2 cloves peeled garlic
- 5 tbsp. butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 c. large-grain risotto rice
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste softened in
- 1/2 c. dry white wine
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place shrimp in a large saucepan with water, herbs, peppercorns and garlic. Bring to a boil and cook for about 1 minute. Remove the shrimp; peel them and return the shells to the saucepan. Boil the shells for another 10 minutes. Strain, returning the broth to a saucepan; simmer until needed. Slice the shrimp in half lengthwise, removing the dark vein along the back. Set 4 halves aside for garnish, and roughly chop the rest. Heat 3 tbsp. of the butter in a casserole pot. Add the shallots and cook until golden. Stir in the shrimp. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the rice, mixing well to coat it with butter. After 1 to 2 minutes, pour in the tomato paste and wine. Add the remaining butter. Add broth to the pot as needed, stirring constantly, and cook until the risotto is tender (not sticky or watery). Garnish with the reserved shrimp halves. Serves 4.