Over the time that Mei’s godparents were visiting from Portugal, we took advantage of the last evening they would be visiting with us to go to one of our favorite restaurants that is located just three blocks down the road from us, which means we can walk to it! It is on the river, so we get to watch little ducklings and swans swim past while we sit in a small dining room designed for no more than 20 or so diners where the ceiling is covered in living grape vines!
It’s a truly relaxing place to have dinner!
At any rate, I ordered a spring risotto and when it arrived, I immediately noticed that it was RED! In the small time that I have been obsessed with risotto, I have never come across a red one – and never had I eaten one. Granted, the portion was very small especially after I had shared a quarter of it with a hungry and risotto loving Mei, and I immediately wanted to make one for myself! How hard could it be? I can make regular “white” risotto and you have all seen how I can make a “purple” risotto, so a tomato based “red” risotto would be no problem!
After thinking on it for a week or so, I decided on putting shrimp, asparagus and peas in our red risotto and couldn’t wait to get a night to make it! In the time before I made it, I researched different tomato based risottos and noticed that either the tomatoes were added before the the rice was toasted or in the last couple of steps, just before the risotto was finished. I thought I could infuse more flavor if I waited until the end to add the tomato and it was truly a treat for the masses!
We actually wound up with a small amount of leftovers that was quickly devoured by the end of lunchtime the next day. We will certainly be making this dish again! In fact, this meal wound up being a picnic dinner at my husband’s work during a particularly long shift, Mei and I packed up dinner just as soon as it was ready and rushed over so we could all enjoy it still piping hot with melting, thin strands of parmigiana cheese on top!
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- 150g arborio rice or about one handful per person
- 400 ml chicken/vegetable/fish stock
- 2 TBS butter
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 3 shallots, finely diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 100 ml dry white wine
- one 14.5 oz can of chopped or diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 TBS tomato paste
- 200 g shrimp
- 100g frozen peas, or fresh if you prefer
- parmigiana cheese, grated
- minced parsley and salt & pepper to taste
Keep the stock warm in a saucepan throughout the cooking process.
Melt the butter and oil together in a flat, high walled pan. Saute the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant, about five minutes.
Add the rice and toast until there is just a small white dot in the center of each grain of rice and opaque.
De-glaze the pan with the white wine and stir constantly until the wine is almost completely absorbed by the wine.
Add a ladle of the stock at a time, stirring frequently until almost absorbed until the rice is cooked and/or the stock is gone. If the stock is used up before the rice is cooked, you can use warm water as well. A splash of more white wine with the last ladle of stock also adds a bit more flavor – especially important if you had to add water.
Stir in the tomatoes in juice, paste, seafood and peas until just cooked and heated through. Top with grated parmigiana and parsley and serve immediately.