Creamy risotto with delicate, herbaceous dill, plump Gulf shrimp, and spring-fresh English peas, all tossed with creamy chèvre…Spring Risotto with Shrimp, Chèvre and English Peas tastes like spring, and makes a perfect main course for your beautiful Easter brunch or supper!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill, but the content and opinions are my own. I have enthusiastically used their products for years!
I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.
The change in seasons is always exciting for foodies that love spending time in their kitchens (moi ;-)) Seasons are blurred (non-existent?) in south Texas, but we do begin to see the change in the produce section of our markets. I have access to an incredible variety of produce year-round, but I still gravitate towards the seasonal selections. In spring, I think of some of my favorites – strawberries, radishes, asparagus, and English peas. Spring Risotto with Shrimp, Chèvre and English Peas specifies English peas, but asparagus makes a worthy substitute. I love fresh English peas, but admittedly, I cannot always get them. My advice is to use either the English peas or the asparagus depending on which is available and freshest!
Nothing exemplifies spring (in my mind) like fresh plucked dill from my garden. It almost always makes an appearance on my Easter table. When we lived in New Mexico, our favorite Easter entrée was gravlox made with a side of salmon, and cured with an entire bunch of fresh dill! Mmmm… With only 2 of us to feed, gravlox aren’t really practical, but I still love to include fresh dill, even if it’s “just” a simple side of English peas and carrots with butter and fresh dill. What foods do you associate with spring and Easter?
Featured Ingredient: Gulf Shrimp in Spring Risotto
Living near the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf shrimp has become a regular part of our diet. These wild-caught shrimp feast on the nutrient-rich waters of the Gulf, making them a far tastier choice than their farm-raised counterparts fed who-knows-what. They are low in fat (lean protein!), low in calories, zero carbohydrates, high in omega-3 fats (“good fats”), and contain 2 less-common antioxidants – astaxanthin (provides the red color in fish and shellfish) and selenium (aids in thyroid function). Eat. More. Shrimp!
Of course you will still have a lovely dish if you cannot get wild-caught Gulf shrimp. 😀 Do take care to read the label, and know something about the shrimp you are buying. “Responsibly Farm-Raised” is a better option than “farm-raised” typically, and a lot of internationally farm-raised fish and seafood does not meet the USDA standards. For more on this topic, see What You Need to Know About Farm-Raised VS Wild-Caught Fish. It is my opinion, though, that regardless of whether it was farm-raised or wild-caught, fish and seafood are an important part of a healthy diet…
So, on to the Spring Risotto with Shrimp, Chèvre, and English Peas! This bowl of goodness starts out with premium-quality arborio rice from Bob’s Red Mill. As I mentioned in Seared Scallop with Mushroom Risotto, arborio is the only rice I have found in the United States that is suitable for risotto. This short-grained rice yields risotto that is creamy, chewy, and firm to the bite. The finished dish should be creamy, never gloppy! Bob’s Red Mill products are widely available in the U.S., directly from the company online, and via Amazon. Their products focus on healthy, all natural, grains, flours, cereals, etc.
I love fresh shelled English peas in this spring risotto. Unfortunately, I cannot always get them. 😥 Perhaps they do not thrive in the greenhouses of south Texas with our 90 degree plus spring days? I can often find them at Trader Joe’s, though, and their sweet, verdant presence in this dish is hard to replace. I do find that good quality frozen peas make a good substitute in a pinch. I have also grilled tender spring asparagus, and cut them into bite-sized pieces, and add them in with the chèvre at the end… Play with it, and make it your own…
Keep in mind that risotto is not a “set it and forget it” dish. The broth is brought to a simmer in a separate pan, then added by ladles full to the arborio rice. As the broth absorbs, more is added, stirring frequently. The shrimp and peas only spend the final 5-6 minutes in the cooking rice. Finally, the chèvre and fresh dill are added, and gently stirred. Does this not look and sound like spring? I do hope you’ll give it a try!
Spring Risotto with Shrimp, Chèvre and English Peas
Creamy risotto with delicate, herbaceous dill, plump Gulf shrimp, and spring-fresh English peas, all tossed with creamy chèvre...Spring Risotto with Shrimp, Chèvre and English Peas tastes like spring, and makes a perfect main course for your beautiful Easter brunch or supper!
- 3 to 4 cups seafood, shrimp, or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- a few grinds pepper
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 8 ounces fresh or frozen English peas
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill (extra for garnish) finely minced
- 2 ounces chevre in small bits
- chives for garnish finely minced
Put your broth in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat and maintain a low simmer.
Using a good quality, fairly heavy pan (I like my enameled cast iron small dutch oven), heat the olive oil, add the shallot and minced garlic. Sauté until translucent. Add the rice, and saute until the rice is fragrant but not browned (about 2-3 minutes).
De-glaze the pot with wine or sherry. Add salt and pepper.
When most of the wine is absorbed, begin to add the hot broth a ladle full at a time as it continues to absorb. Stir frequently. This process will take about 30 minutes +/-.
At about 25 minutes, add the prepared shrimp and the peas (whether fresh or frozen). Cook until the shrimp are pink and opaque. The risotto is done when a rice grain is al dente (still a bit firm and chewy but tender). The starch will have been released into the dish creating a creamy consistency.
Add the fresh dill and chevre. Stir in gently. Check for seasoning.
To serve, garnish with additional chopped fresh dill and chives. Enjoy!