Risotto is nice for a change, and you can make it into a very decent main dish by adding meat or shellfish, in this case little Maine shrimp. I have to confess to being a little intimidated by risotto and am trying to get over it by making it a bit more frequently. So the recipe that follows is the result of a recent attempt.
The shrimp fishing season has been extended in Maine into May because the supply looks strong. That gives us another couple of months of shrimp eating. You can buy shrimp in fish markets, in the fish section of the grocery store and from trucks alongside the road. Sometimes the vendors sell the shrimp peeled and they usu-ally have unpeeled whole shrimp.
If you buy your shrimp whole and take them home to peel, you can make a very nice shrimp broth by saving all the heads and shells, and covering them in lightly salted water and cooking them gently for about a half-hour with a bay leaf, a carrot chopped up, a rib of celery chopped, an onion chopped, a few peppercorns and a couple of cloves. Strain out the shells and taste a sample. If necessary, reduce the broth until the flavor intensifies.
Makes 4-6 servings.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium leek, peeled, sliced and rinsed to remove dirt
1 onion chopped finely
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
1 quart shrimp or other broth (vegetable or chicken) heated to a simmer
1 pound raw, peeled shrimp
Romano or Parmesan cheese to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Using a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook leek and onion in olive oil until they are soft, about five minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, for another five minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring the rice until the wine has been absorbed. Add broth a cup at a time and cook, stirring the rice to prevent sticking until most of the broth is used up and-or the rice is tender. Stir in shrimp and cheese and remove from heat. Let sit for five minutes or until shrimp is cooked. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed; serve immediately.