The day before Valentine's day, my sweetie took me to see Valentine's Day (the movie). It was very cute! Our tradition is once a year he willingly takes me to see a chick flick! We never go out to eat dinner on Valentine's Day because we like to avoid the crowds. This year I made shrimp and asparagus risotto and we watched Hellboy! This is my favorite combination for risotto but you can add a variety of veggies. I often substitute the asparagus for green peas. My other favorite risotto is one made with red wine, mushrooms, eggplant, pork chops, and capers (I'll post that recipe next time I make it). This one is really simple, it just takes a lot of stirring and watching it. Well worth it for a special meal. The most important part is the type of rice that you use. You must use arborio rice. There are other varieties that you can use, but arborio is found in most grocery stores. The first time you make risotto it can seem complicated, but after you learn the steps, it becomes really easy. You can also make this dish with quinoa.
SHRIMP AND ASPARAGUS RISOTTO
2 cups arborio rice
1 large yellow onion
1 cup chopped baby portabello mushrooms (aka cremini)
1/2 bunch trimmed and chopped thin asparagus (don't buy ones that are as thick as fingers)
1 lb. deveined and deshelled shrimp
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups white wine (not a sweet kind like chardonnay or riesling, get a dry pinot grigio or other)
2 tblsp butter
2 tblsp olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesean cheese
1 tsp chopped garlic
This makes a really creamy risotto. If you want yours a bit drier.... omit 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth. In a medium sauce pot placed on medium heat, add the olive oil, butter, and chopped onions. Saute until onions are translucent. Add rice and mushrooms and saute for 5 more minutes, stirring constantly so that the rice doesn't burn. The rice will start to become slightly translucent. The next part is very time consuming, but adding the liquid this way makes it creamy. Add 1 cup of the wine, stir, and wait until it is all absorbed. Add 3 cups of the chicken broth, stir, and wait until it is absorbed. Add the other cup of wine and garlic, stir, wait until it is absorbed. Add remaining chicken broth and asparagus wait until almost absorbed and add the shrimp. Keep stirring, the shrimp cooks very quickly, less than 5 minutes. At the very end, take the pot off the heat and add parmesean. Serve in a bowl and add additional parmesean to the top if you like. Different sites and recipes call for you to add different amounts of liquid and to stir them in at different times. The most important thing is to add liquids in small amounts, this takes about 30 minutes for the rice to absorb it all, and don't overcook the shrimp. Add salt and pepper for taste.