Taking advantage of ingredients on sale, such as shrimp, is always a great excuse for me to make a Risotto. Plus, during the summer how can you resist the abundance of squash at its best to add into the mix?
My Shrimp, Bacon and Summer Squash Risotto satisfy a craving while taking advantage of what the season has to offer. The key to a great risotto is to prepare and cook some of the ingredients ahead of time, as with the squash and shrimp in this recipe. That way we can focus on the rice and its texture before adding these into it.
In this recipe I cooked the shrimp really quickly in their shells - this maximizes their flavor and protects their juiciness. However, if you don't want to go this route, you can purchase de-veined and peeled shrimp instead. But, please do not purchase the steamed (already cooked like rubber shrimp,) from your grocery store. There is nothing worse than spending the time to make this wonderful dish if we are going to add terrible ingredients into it.
Risotto, to me, is one of the biggest Italian comfort food dishes there is, with so many variations out there in the culinary world. So, use this recipe as a guideline and take advantage of what you have available in your area and create your own unique risotto. Buon Appetito!
3/4 lb. diced bacon (I used peppered), cooked
1 large red bell pepper, small dice
1 large zucchini (courgette,) small dice
1 yellow squash (banana/crookneck,) small dice
1 1/2 lb. medium/jumbo shrimp, deveined - shells on
Ground black pepper
6 - 8 cups chicken, veggie or seafood stock, warmed
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup shallots, small dice
3 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup cream (optional)
2 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup frozen garden peas, defrosted
1. Start by heating a little olive oil in a large skillet over a medium flame. Add the bell pepper cooking for 2 minutes and then add the zucchini and yellow squash. Cook the veggies for about 5 minutes only until the squash is crisp tender and not soft. The squash will cook a little more at the end of the recipe. Set aside.
2. Next, heat a little more olive oil in the same skillet and over a medium to high heat cook the shrimp with their shells on until they just turn pink on both sides. Set these aside to cool enough to handle, remove the shells and season with a little salt and pepper.
3. In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and the butter over a medium flame. Cook the shallots until fragrant, approximately 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir well, coating the grains with the olive oil and butter. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the wine. Cook, stirring often until most of the wine has been absorbed by the rice. Add a couple of ladles of stock to the rice, stirring vigorously after each addition and let the rice absorb the stock. Repeat this step until the rice is al dente (firm to bite.)
4. Lastly, once the rice is al dente, remove the pan from the heat and add the bacon, squash, shrimp, peas, parsley and cream. Stir well to combine and serve in bowls.
Serves 6 people
Best Arborio Rice deals, 32-Ounce Jars (Pack of 4)