This colorful shrimp risotto gets its wonderful aroma from fennel, garlic, and lemon. This is an elegant dish that’s quick enough to pull together on a weeknight!
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Don’t you love it when you’ve got a craving for a specific dish and you just happen to have all the ingredients on hand to make it, like, now? This often happens to me with risotto, because I looooove risotto. I basically make it once a week, so I keep the following essential ingredients on hand at all times:
With these three crucial risotto ingredients on hand, I can make a delicious risotto with whatever I have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer.
Got a head of cauliflower? Quickly broil the florets, then add lots of parmesan and some chili flakes, and you’ll end up with a comforting dish that would give the best mac & cheeses of the world a run for their money in terms of deliciousness.
Got fresh corn? Make it the central star in an all-corn risotto, or throw in some crab meat to make a truly special, elegant, spring dinner dish.
Got a big bunch of kale? Turn it into a colorful pesto, then swirl it into a cheesy risotto and top with walnuts for some crunch.
Lucky enough to have a basket of fresh, sweet, green peas on hand? Showcase them in a deliciously vegetarian green pea risotto, or combine them with juicy shrimp to create a colorful dish that’s quick and easy enough to be pulled together on a weeknight.
The flavors in this shrimp risotto get an aromatic boost from fennel seeds, garlic, and lemon, while the green peas add a pop of color! The sprinkle of dill makes the dish taste super fresh. This risotto comes together in a snap, especially if you happen to have cooked shrimp and shelled peas in the freezer, but it offers surprisingly complex flavors and an irresistible combination of textures—from the tender shrimp, to the slightly crunchy peas, to the cheesy, gooey rice.
This shrimp risotto is undoubtedly elegant enough to be served to company, but I truly encourage you to make it on a weeknight. This dish might just be the most delicious reward after a long day at the office—or wherever work is for you. You deserve it!
As is often the case with simple, Italian-inspired dishes, using the very best ingredients you can get your hands on or afford makes the biggest difference in terms of the flavor of your final dish. In this shrimp risotto, I encourage you to try to find homemade fish or seafood stock at your local fishmonger, they often keep it in the freezer section. Homemade stock will impart a milder flavor to the risotto instead of stealing the spotlight, which I find canned fish or seafood stock tends to do. If you do use canned stock, I recommend diluting it 2/3 stock to 1/3 water. This will soften the flavors and leave centerstage to your main risotto ingredients.
Also, use quality risotto rice for the creamiest texture—Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano are all good picks. Finally, make sure to hunt down Pecorino Romano cheese for this recipe: it’s a super flavorful cheese and you need just a bit to round up the delicious aromas of this shrimp risotto.
Italians often say cheese should never touch seafood dishes. In Italy, for example, you will never be served cheese over seafood pasta. In this shrimp risotto, though, I think a little Pecorino-Romano cheese adds a truly lovely creaminess to the dish, and some depth of flavor too. I think it’s worth bending the rule here, but in the end, it’s your choice! This shrimp risotto would also be perfectly delicious sans cheese.
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is often used in risotto recipes, but in shrimp risotto, I like to use Pecorino Romano cheese instead. Pecorino Romano is a hard Italian cheese made with sheep’s milk. It has a sharp, slightly peppery flavor and it’s super aromatic, which means it’s just the thing to balance out the mild, sweet flavor of shrimp and peas. Be aware that Pecorino Romano is quite salty, in fact, it’s saltier than Parmigiano-Reggiano, so you’ll need to use less to provide flavor and creaminess to the dish. Make sure to wait until you’ve stirred in the Pecorino Romano cheese into the risotto before adding any salt to the recipe; depending on the cheese, you might not need to season the risotto at all.
Photo: Consorzio per la tutela de Pecorino Romano
This shrimp risotto comes together in a flash when you use precooked, frozen shrimp. I like to use tiny Northern shrimp (also called Northern prawns) because they’re tiny and sweet and defrost in no time. You can also use pink shrimp, which exist in many different sizes. Tiny pink shrimp (61 to 70 count per pound) are handy because they, too, defrost very quickly, but you can use larger shrimp and cut them into bite sizes before you stir them into the risotto.
Of course, you can also use raw shrimp: simply peel them and sauté them in a bit of butter for a couple of minutes before adding them to the risotto. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp because the heat from the risotto will cook them further.
Most risotto recipes serve 4 to 6, with ingredient quantities that are hard to split into halves or thirds. This has always annoyed me because I usually make risotto for 2 people. So I’m writing all my risotto recipes to serve 2, which means the math is easier to scale up the ingredients to serve 4 or 6 guests. Note that this shrimp risotto recipe produces a generous 2-serving yield—you could stretch it to 3 servings if this dish is part of a more elaborate menu that includes appetizers and sides.
Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.
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Author: Marie Asselin
A lovely recipe: good balance of flavors. I subbed asparagus for peas (my wife hates peas). With leftover risotto, I cool it then make risotto cakes. They keep well, and come out as something completely different from risotto.
Asparagus and shrimp are absolutely perfect together, great substitution! Happy you enjoyed the risotto William!
This shrimp risotto was so perfect! I was a little intimidated about making risotto but your instructions explained it so well.
You just need a few key tips to make perfect risotto! Once you’ve got them down, you’re on for a lifetime of deliciousness 😍
Gorgeous dish for spring. I love the addition of shrimp to make this heartier for a light warm weather meal. This on the patio watching the sun go down is my idea of heaven.
What a wonderful image! Sounds like my idea of heaven, too 😍
This dish looks wonderful! I have been looking for new recipes for some shrimp, as that seems to be a go to for us in the summer.
A lot of people think of risotto as a dish to serve during cooler seasons, but I love it in the summer, too! All you need to do is adapt the flavors to make risotto any-season friendly!
This shrimp risotto recipe is an excellent dish! I also want to give you props for your photography! You have some gorgeous photos on your site!
Thank you so much Leslie! The comment means a lot coming from you. I love your site as well!
This shrimp risotto was exactly what I was craving! It was such a hit and it was easy to make. It was loaded with so much flavor that complimented the shrimp so perfectly!
Thanks Kathryn, that’s so great to hear! This is an incredibly flavorful risotto indeed. Once of my favorites to make!
Any time we can add green vegetables to a meal it’s a good thing. Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe.
Happy to be the provider of green-friendly recipes 💚😉
I agree that grated romano cheese is always is a good touch with pasta and seafood and most definitely risotto! Your recipe was easy to make and so very very delicious! thanks for sharing it.
Thanks Dennis! I always thought of Pecorino Romano as a seasoning tool. It adds such depth to dish, even when you use just a little!
Delicious! Shrimp and risotto compliment each other well. I love the fresh peas!
Thank you Andrea! This is a beautifully colorful risotto indeed!
This is so flavourful, shrimp is all my time fav option for dinner. It is perfect for my busy weeknight meals.
I find it so incredibly satisfying to make and serve risotto on weeknights! It’s a real treat to end busy days with a bowl of creamy goodness like this.