What is Recession Risotto, you ask? It is risotto you make using things that are already in your kitchen without making a trip to the grocery store. Hence, saving gas, time and using grocery money already spent. My good friend K has been requesting more blog posts that involve cooking at home, and since my eating out has really slowed down, what can I do but accept the challenge?
I started by looking in the freezer for a protein source. About a month or so ago my friend B instructed me to stop by Trader Joe's to pick up some of the seasonal, and a short season it is, Argentinian Red Shrimp. OK, fine, so I picked up a couple bags and while paying the check out girl gushed about the wonderfulness of the red shrimp. OK, lady, whatever. It's shrimp. Of course it's good.
The raw deal.
I used a recipe from epicurious.com just to get the chemistry right, none of the ingredients matched really, so I diverged in my own process after organizing the right amount of fluids and the right amount of arborio rice. I threw in a couple tablespoons of butter to cook the shrimps. Yes, shrimps, bishes.
Recession risotto also requires garlic, natch. And this garlic is about a week too old. But wtf, I used it anyway.
It also requires wine with which to cook the shrimp. This wine was left over from a raid on the mini-bar at the Riviera in Palm Springs last weekend. I must have a little bit of my mom in me, because I corked that sucker up and brought it home. Lo and behold it was just what I needed tonight.
Cooking the shrimp in butter, garlic, red chili pepper flakes and mini-bar wine.
At this point, we have what amounts to scampi. Afterward, I pulled out the shrimps and set aside the shrimp liquid to get to work on the rice.
Instead of starting with butter again, as the recipe suggested, I started with olive oil. Better for the heart and not as easily subject to burning. I threw in more garlic and lots of capers for good measure.
Mark Bittman's recent article in the NYT for suggests that one should throw away bouillon cubes in the process of creating a pantry geared toward whole and real foods. I will not be throwing away my bouillon cubes for the same reason I will not be making stock from scratch and freezing it in single use sizes. I am lazy and bouillon cubes are a great alternative when I work a long day and want to make something delicious in the least amount of time possible. To Hades with you and your wanton bouillon cube eschewing, Mark Bittman. Hades, I say.
Let the cooking of the rice begin. In addition to the shrimp cooking liquid, I used an additional 3 cups of bouillon stock and another generous splash of mini-bar wine.
The recession risotto progresses.
When the risotto has progressed almost 100% to the point of edibility, I throw in the shrimp liquid, a can of artichoke hearts (non-marinated, always), and a defrosted package of spring peas that have been in the freezer a mysterious amount of time. Nevermind.
I let the risotto cook a tiny bit longer, til it hits the naturally creamy stage, sans dairy.
Honestly, this was delicious. The shrimp did kind of blow me away. They tasted more like a less-chewy langostine. Like a cross between lobster and shrimp. I totally understand the mystique of the Argentinian red shrimp. Now I just need to remember to swing by Trader Joe's every fall to push old ladies out of the way and grab a few bags while they last.