Risotto sounds like it should be really hard and complicated to make. While it is true that all the stirring and monitoring can get tedious, the dish itself is fairly straightforward. The ingredients can be as simple or as complex as desired, and the end product is almost always delicious (barring under or overcooking the sticky Arborio rice grains).
What I love most about risotto (aside from the cheese and warm and fuzzy feelings I get when eating it) is how the dish lends itself to experimentation, allowing my inner chef to come out. Once I mastered the basic formula of how to cook risotto, I began improvising to come up with my own creations (often dependent upon the contents of my refrigerator/cupboards).
My most recent success story (pictured above) involves shell-on shrimp, white wine, chicken broth, edamame, shallots, pepper, salt, lemon/lemon peel., and the requisite Parmesan cheese. Some chefs/foodies frown upon the addition of cheese to seafood, but in Chez Diana's kitchen, there is cheese on everything. Except on ice cream. That would be just gross!
To recreate my "Anything Goes Shrimp Risotto" (for one), abide by these following rules/steps. Or create your own rules.
1/4th - 1/3rd lb. medium shrimp with shells
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup shallots (diced)
1/4 cup cooked edamame (shelled)
1/4 cup arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
1/3 cup chicken broth
1. Wash and de-shell shrimp. Reserve shells.
2. Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Cook shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon of lemon peel, saving the additional teaspoon of lemon peel to add to the dish at the end. Season with salt and pepper. When the shrimp turn pink remove them from the pan and set them aside. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
3. Combine wine, chicken broth, lemon juice, pepper, and shrimp shells in a saucepan, and heat the liquid on low.
4. While the broth/wine mixture is warming up, saute the diced shallots in a splash of olive oil. When the onions are translucent, add the rice and reduce the heat to medium/low. Once the rice grains are slightly white in the middle, add some of the broth mixture to the pan*. Cover to expedite cooking process.
5. Simmer rice and broth until the liquid is absorbed and then add more as needed. Stay fairly close to the kitchen to monitor the pan situation and to make sure it doesn't run dry. Once the rice begins to look creamy, remove the lid, and add the shrimp, shelled edamame, and extra lemon peel. At the last minute before serving, add in the Parmesan to give it an extra boost of creaminess.
6. Post a comment on my blog telling me how wonderful it tastes.
*Note: Do not add shrimp shells to the rice pan -- discard them from the saucepan when you have used all the liquid up.