To top off my week of homemade comfort foods, I made seafood risotto. And it was a great way to finish a great week. First, my mom celebrated a special birthday (happy birthday Mom!). Then, on Saturday, I spent the afternoon cooking with my friends from school for a project – and isn’t it amazing that my program requires some kitchen time? And now, as I’m writing this, David and I are both sitting happy with wins for our favorite teams. Incidentally, both games were St. Louis vs. Wisconsin: the Green Bay Packers beat out the Rams yesterday afternoon, and are now 6-0, and late last night the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Brewers to head to the World Series! Very exciting.
As for the recipe, this is another one of my own creations. I absolutely love the combination of tarragon and seafood, so it was easy to come to the idea of flavoring a seafood risotto with tarragon. Being on a student budget, I thought a shrimp & pea risotto would be simple, relatively inexpensive, yet delicious. So I headed to my neighborhood seafood mercato to pick up the shrimp. Kerri, one of the owners of Mercato del Mare, tucked in a few lobster meat claws for us, too (thank you, Kerri!). Perfect.
Seafood Risotto with Tarragon & Sweet Peas
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups stock or water (I used lobster stock, but others would work well here, too)
3/4 pound shrimp, peeled (or other seafood selections, like lobster meat, if desired)
1 1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 Tablespoons chopped tarragon
1) Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add onion and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the arborio rice and saute until the rice grains start to turn translucent around the edges, about another 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir rice until the liquid is absorbed.
2) Meanwhile, keep the stock or water at a low simmer in a small pan on a back burner.
3) Add 1/2 cup of stock to the rice mixture in the skillet. Continue cooking the rice, stirring frequently, for about 40 minutes. Spoon additional stock by 1/2-cup portions at a time. Allow the rice in the skillet to absorb the liquid after each round before adding more stock. After 20 or 30 minutes, taste the rice to test its texture.
4) As the risotto nears al dente (about 30 minutes into cooking), heat the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a separate skillet. When it is hot, add the shrimp in an even, single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes until well-colored on the bottom. Flip the shrimp and sear the opposite side. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
5) When the risotto is close to done (taste the rice grains to be sure they’re fully cooked), add the frozen peas and tarragon. Stir to thoroughly incorporate. The peas only need about 2 minutes over the heat to cook through. Add the shrimp and stir. Serve immediately.