Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring Comfort Food - Shrimp Risotto with Bacon Gremolata

Comfort food is generally associated with winter weather.

But what comforts you when a spring day turns wet, gray and cold?

Light yet satisfying, this dish is best made in the spring when asparagus is at its peak. Spring peas work just as well.

Shrimp Risotto with Bacon Gremolata: serves 4

Shrimp Stock:
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined - set aside. Reserve shells
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 shallot, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
6 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
small bunch (a couple of sprigs) fresh parsley

Place the shrimp shells, water, broth, shallot, peppercorns, bay leaf and parsley in a large stock pot. Bring to a small boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the stock through a sieve and discard vegetables and shells.

Place stock in a large heavy saucepan. Keep warm over low heat.


2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup shallots, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup steamed, diced asparagus spears
nutmeg - a few good grinds
salt to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bacon Gremolata:

4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and drained
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

Break bacon into small pieces, toss with the parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Set Aside

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add shallots and saute over medium heat until transparent, about 2 minutes. Add rice and continue to saute another 2 minutes. Rice will turn from white to almost opaque. Add wine and cook until almost all the liquid is evaporated. Add shrimp stock by 1/2 cup full, cooking after each addition until almost all the liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. This should take about 20-25 minutes.
Stir in shrimp and asparagus and cook until the shrimp are pink and firm. Stir in a few good grinds of fresh nutmeg. Take off heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the Parmesan cheese.

Spoon into shallow bowls and top with the bacon gremolata.

Eat with a smile. The spring rains are watering your summer vegetables.

A Cook's Notes: What the heck is gremolata? Gremolata (or gremolada) is a chopped herb condiment typically made of garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. It is a traditional accompaniment to the Italian Osso Buco. Although it is a common accompaniment to veal, the citrus element in gremolata makes it an appropriate addition to seafood dishes.


  1. I like the word Gremolata. Like gremlins. On your food!

  2. Kate - but it doesn't taste like gremlins! At least not like any gremlin I've ever eaten... not that I would eat a gremlin....

  3. Yummy! Highly appropriate for the last couple of days here. We needed the rain, but it's definitely comfort food time.

  4. Oooh, I love the shrimp and asparagus risoto at Olive Garden and I think I'm going to love this!

  5. Looks delicious and not too hard to whip up! I LIKE that. :)

  6. Whitney - you are right, we do need the rain. I just keep repeating to myself, "this is good for the garden"

    Blissed - Go for it!

    Robynn - This recipe is not difficult at all, enjoy!

  7. We had shrimp last night too- but it was more of an appetizer dish...

  8. yuuum

    first of all... all i had to see was risotto! I adore risotto..but you threw in shrimp! oh My and BACON!

    there is no way i would be able to control myself with this dish. it would vanish. into my belly.

  9. Buffalo - I love shrimp, it is so versatile and flavorful.

    Mo - there is no control when it comes to risotto, you just bring fork to mouth, fork to mouth and smile a lot.

  10. I LOVE LOVE LOVE shrimp! There is no way to cook it that I won't eat it!

  11. Comfort food for sure!!! I made risotto for the first time (with chicken) a few weeks ago..mmmmmmmmmmmm! This recipe looks so good!

  12. I love risotto in spring... or any time really ;) Interested to learn about the gremolata, I hadn't heard of that.

    PS I made a little something for you

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