Risotto with Asparagus, Oyster Mushrooms, and Ridgeback Shrimp


Yes, two weeks of writing about ridgeback shrimp-that’s how much I love them. Here, they’re just one more ingredient in a tasty melange that asks for substitutions. In fact, this recipe is based on a risi e bisi from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano. So, simply think of a good green veggie (asparagus, or limas, or favas, or fresh peas), the best mushroom you can find, and then decide if you want to up the ante with some seafood, too.

¼ c. extra virgin olive oil

¼ c. shallots, minced

2 ribs celery, minced

2 oz. bacon or other pig product (pancetta, prosciutto) in small dice

6 oz. oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1½ c. arborio rice

6 c. chicken stock, heated

4 oz. asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 lb. ridgeback shrimp, shells and heads removed

4 Tbs. butter, at room temperature, chopped up

½ c. grated Parmigiano

salt (maybe) and ground pepper to taste

In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots, celery, bacon, mushrooms, and cook until bacon begins to crisp and vegetables soften (about 10 minutes). Add rice and stir for two minutes. Add enough stock to cover the rice, and turn up the heat to get a boil going. Start a timer that counts time. Stir, steadily (despite all the old wives’ tales, you can go in different directions and even not do it nonstop). Each time most of the stock is absorbed, add another ladle. After 15 minutes (thank you, timer), taste it. The rice should still be a bit crunchy. Add the asparagus and continue stirring, adding more liquid if it looks dry. After two minutes, add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is done (about two minutes). Remove from heat. Add butter and cheese, and stir to incorporate. Season as taste dictates.


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