In our family, my sister was the artistic one. She had a gift for drawing. I was the practical one. Until I started cooking and I realize my artistic release was in feeding people. Feeding people involves more than creating recipes, it involves the presentation of the food as well.
A simple dinner of shrimp and risotto can become a romantic dinner for two, or a dinner party with friends when thought goes into the presentation. Restaurants have known this for years. Simple basic fare can become gourmet dishes simply by thinking about the appearance of the dish.
That was the idea behind today’s post. Yes, care and thought went into the flavors but, it’s the presentation that steals the show.
Start the risotto. In a large saucepan bring 3 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer.
In a large skillet warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté 1/2 cup chopped onions with 2 cloves minced garlic until tender.
Add 1 cup of Arborio rice and stir. Add one cup of simmering broth; cook and stir until absorbed.
Stir in another cup of simmering broth. Continuing cooking and stirring until broth is almost completely absorbed, add another cup of simmering broth. Repeat process until rice is slightly firm in the center and look creamy. Reserve 1/4 cup of broth. The entire process should take about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and reserved broth. Take off heat and keep warm.
When using the stovetop, I always warm my oven to 170° and use it as my warming station.
Make the brown butter. Because brown butter can quickly become burnt butter I like to make the brown butter first and then use it as an ingredient in the recipe.
Start by first cutting a stick of butter into 1 tablespoon pats using the markings on the paper.
In a saucepan, melt the cut butter over medium heat, stirring constantly. Patience is the key to success here. Slow and steady wins the race.
See how the fat is starting to separate? That’s a good thing. From this point keep a close eye on the color of your butter. When the color reaches a nice tan shade give it a final stir, turn off heat and remove the butter from pan.
The butter will continue to brown when you take it off the heat and will reach desired caramel shade.
Pour a 1/4 cup of the brown butter into a clean skillet. Add 2 to 3 cloves of slivered garlic and cook until fragment. Add a 1 pound of large peeled and deveined shrimp to pan. I keep the tails on the shrimp for the presentation.
For color and a kick of flavor, I add a dash of cayenne pepper. If you do not care for cayenne pepper, try paprika to warm up the color of the shrimp. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, turning shrimp over to cook both sides.
Remove the shrimp. Wrap in foil and place in the warming oven until ready to use. to keep warm. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and return to stove. Add another 1/4 cup of the brown butter to skillet. Add spinach to skillet, about a pound, in batches if necessary, and toss until just wilted about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Presentation: Drizzle extra brown butter and slivered garlic on a plate. Add wilted spinach. Using a small scoop pack risotto into 4 to 5 small tight mounds on the plate. Top each mound with a piece of shrimp. Serve immediately. – Ella
Brown Butter Shrimp and Risotto
• 3 cups chicken broth
• 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
• 1 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup arborio rice
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
• 1 stick of butter
• 2 – 3 cloves garlic, slivered
• 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 pound spinach
• Salt and pepper
- In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and maintain at a simmer. In a large skillet, Sauté onion in oil and butter for 3 minutes. Add rice, stirring for 2 minutes.
- Stir in 1 cup simmering broth. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed. Gradually stir in remaining broth 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup. Reserve 1/4 cup broth. Rice should be slightly firm in the center and look creamy.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, reserved broth, and parsley. Keep warm.
- Cut butter into tablespoons. In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly until the butter is a nice light brown. Turn off heat and remove the butter from pan. The butter will continue to brown off the heat.
- When butter reaches a nice brown color add 1/4 cup of the brown butter to a skillet. Add shrimp and garlic to skillet. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, turning shrimp over to cook both sides. Remove shrimp, keep warm.
- In the same skillet add another 1/4 cup of brown butter. Add spinach to skillet, in batches if necessary, and toss until just wilted about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.