Oh Risotto, what a wonderful dish you are! So versatile, healthy(ish), easy to make, quick for a weeknight dinner and at the same time decadent and comforting. You’ve got it all!
I quickly blanched a whole bunch of fresh spinach and parsley in chicken stock, removed it from the pan and then blitzed it in a food processor. To save time you could skip this step and just add the whole spinach in at the end to wilt into the sauce, but I love the green colour it gives the risotto by blitzing it.
The shrimp I quickly coated in chili flakes and paprika sauteéd in some olive oil and a good sprinkling of garlic granules (I prefer garlic granules over garlic powder).
I also always have a jar of toasted breadcrumbs lying around which I quickly crisped up with some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic granules.
The trick for a good risotto is to work with hot stock, this will ensure that the rice will cook properly and speed things up.
Spinach & Lemon Risotto with Garlic Shrimp and Crunchy Bread Crumb Topping
- The Risotto
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter (optional)
- Splash of white wine, vermouth or sherry
- 250g risotto rice (usually ± 100g pp, but I have a hungry boyfriend so I always make extra)
- Small onion or shallot, finely chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 300 g fresh spinach leaves
- Small bunch flat leaf parsley
- 50g parmesan, grated (or more to taste) + more to serve (Leave out for vegan option)
- ± 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- ± 1.2 liters vegetable or chicken broth (see notes)
- Zest of 1/2 lemon + more to serve
- 2-3 tbsp toasted breadcrumbs (optional)
- The Shrimp (leave out for vegetarian option)
- ± 200 g shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tsp garlic granules or otherwise 1-2 garlic cloves, grated
The spinach mix (± 3-5 minutes)
Start by bringing the broth to a simmer.
Add the spinach and parsley and wilt for ± 1 minute.
Transfer for a food processor, add a drop of olive oil and season with pepper and salt.
Blend until smooth, set aside.
Keep the broth on a low simmer.
The risotto (± 25 - 30 minutes)
Heat a good drop of olive oil and a knob of butter in a heavy based sauce pan.
Add the onions and sauté on medium heat until translucent and fragrant, make sure not to burn the onions, cooking slowly gives the best result in taste. Add the garlic after 3 minutes and sauté together for another 2 minutes.
Add the risotto rice and mix well making sure all granules are coated with the oily mixture.
Turn up the heat and deglaze the pan with wine, sherry or vermouth.
Let it sizzle away so the alcohol can evaporate, ± 1 minute.
Add 1 soup ladle of the broth to the rice mixture, stir well and let simmer on low heat until the moisture has been absorbed.
Add another ladle and repeat this process until most of the broth has been used. This will take ± 25 minutes.
In the meantime you can prep the shrimp and the bread crumbs, see below.
After 20 minutes or so keep tasting the risotto to see if the rice is ready. It should be just a little al dente, but the center of the rice granules should no longer be hard.
When you're happy with the texture add in the spinach mix, stir it through well and let simmer for ± 1 minutes.
Turn down the heat and add the cheese, mix through well until melted and absorbed.
Grate in the lemon zest and the nutmeg.
Taste the risotto and season to your liking.
Turn down to very low heat just to keep warm until serving.
The shrimp & bread crumbs (±7-8 minutes, make at the same time as the risotto)
Add the shrimp to a bowl and add the spices, toss it around so it's all coated.
In a (non stick) frying pan add a small drop of olive oil, ± 1 teaspoon, and then add the bread crumbs.
Season with pepper, salt and garlic granules.
Toast for ± 2-3 minutes on high heat and then remove from pan.
Set aside until serving.
Heat another drop of olive oil in the same pan and add the shrimp. Make sure they are in 1 layer in the pan, or they'll steam rather than crisp up.
On high heat fry on 1 side until 3/4 of the way done, this will take ± 2 minutes.
Flip them over and finish on the other side (± 1 minute).
Now you're ready to serve!
Ladle in a good portion of risotto, lay the shrimp on top and finish it off with the bread crumbs, an extra grating of lemon zest and a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Enjoy!
Per 100 g of risotto rice, you need ± 400ml of stock. Sometimes I use a bit more or less, this also depends on the other ingredients I'm adding.