Comfort food: I can think of about a dozen times each day that I crave that warm hug of buttery, carb-loaded, flavorful comfort food. Cold, rainy day? Comfort food. Nothing seems to go right? Comfort food. Would rather stay in tonight than go out to the bar? Comfort food.
While a big bowl of spaghetti or plate of mashed potatoes will do in a pinch, nothing satisfies me like a well done risotto. It has everything: fluffy rice, the tang of white wine, and so much glorious cheese. Is anything quite as wonderful? As the weather starts to shift to more overcast and cool days I know that I will be pulling out my risotto recipe more and more often.
Garlic and Shallot Marinated Shrimp Skewers with Cilantro Risotto
Remember those infused olive oils from a few posts back? Well, it is time to put them to good use! (You can also buy infused oils if you haven’t made any yet). We let our oils sit for two weeks before we started to use them.
We found these gorgeous Mexican white shrimp at our local Santa Monica seafood. Take about a pound of the large shrimp and clean and devein them.
For the marinade take 1.5 cups of your shallot, garlic, and chive infused olive oil and put it in a blender with 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice and blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour the marinade into a large zippered bag and add your shrimp. Mix the shrimp around until everything is well coated and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour so the flavors can infuse into the shrimp. While your shrimp is marinating, start on your risotto.
Add 2 tablespoons of your cilantro and cotija cheese infused olive oil into a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add one small brown onion, chopped, to the oil with a pinch of salt and cook until the onion is translucent. Generally I like to chop onions fine, but in this recipe I like the extra texture larger pieces bring to the risotto.
Increase the heat just a tad and add another tablespoon of olive oil and 1 cup of Aroborio rice.
Add one cup vegetable broth and a half cup good, sweet white wine. We used the Coastal Sauvignon Blanc from Trader Joe’s, but any sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio will do. Stir the rice until everything is well combined.
Here comes the part that puts most amateur cooks off of risotto: pay attention and wait. Keep an eye on the risotto as it cooks, stirring occasionally. Once the liquid is absorbed into the rice add another cup of vegetable broth. Keep repeating this process until the rice is just al dente: about 20 minutes and 3-4 cups of vegetable broth. I only used three cups of broth in this particular recipe, but I have used more or less depending on the day.
Add salt and pepper to taste and grate in ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese and stir in.
The shrimp will only take a few minutes to cook, so you can wait until your risotto is just about done before cooking them. However, you will want to preheat your grill to 500 degrees before starting on your risotto to give it time to come up to temperature.
Take your marinated shrimp and skewer them four per skewer. Place on your preheated grill and cook until just pink, about 2-3 minutes and flip. Cook the other side for the same length of time and you are done!
To serve, scoop your beautiful risotto into a large plate and pile your shrimp on top. Pour yourself a glass or two of your leftover wine and enjoy!
This recipe serves 2 people as a full meal, or 4 if you add in a salad or side of vegetables. A good risotto recipe can be altered in so many ways to suit your taste; use different flavors in the risotto, use it as a side for another protein, or use butter instead of olive oil if you really need that punch of full-fat flavor.
This is my favorite recipe to pull out when I have company; I keep the ingredients for risotto in my kitchen at all times so that I can whip it up when I have a friend stop in without notice. I have never had anyone turn their nose up at it, and neither will you. Enjoy!