Saturday, February 16, 2008

Back to "Real Food"

I went to the store today, my first real shopping trip in quite a while, so it was nice to be go shopping. I did go by myself, which, honestly, is easier than taking the family. Plus the store was incredibly crowded, so it was better on my own. We got back to planning weekly meals and shopping for the whole week.

On the menu tonight was artichoke and shrimp risotto accompanied by green beans. It was a new dish and turned out to be a really nice comfort meal that was incredibly easy. It was also the first time that I made risotto in the oven and let me just say that it is so much better than cooking it on the stove with the same results. Here's the recipe:

Artichoke and Shrimp Risotto

2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups risotto (arborio rice)
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups chicken broth, heated
4 artichoke hearts, quartered (I use canned)
1 lb. small shrimp peeled and devined
1 cup finely grated parmesan
1 Tbs. lemon zest
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a sautee pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for about two minutes then add garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Raise the heat to medium high and add the arborio rice to toast. Add the white wine and cook until liquid is absorbed.

Transfer the rice mixture into a 6 - 10 quart oven proof dish and add the 4 cups of chicken broth. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. Cook for 35 minutes. Check and stir then cook for 5 to 10 minutes more until liquid is absorbed.

Quickly sautee shrimp in a pan with 1 Tbs. olive oil (about 2 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

Remove risotto from oven stir in butter, parmesan, lemon zest, artichokes and shrimp. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with additional grated parmesan.

Serves 4 - 6 generously

A couple notes: I used Maine shrimp which were incredibly creamy. They went very well with the risotto. Also, I took out some risotto for little j before I added the shrimp and artichokes...good move for the 5-year old appetite.

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