When he is not enjoying traditional Venezuelan cuisine, Miguel Cabrera loves to eat Italian food, and risotto is at the top of his list of favorites. Use starchy, medium-grain rice, such as Italian Arborio (available at supermarkets) or Carnaroli (more difficult to find, but worth the search) for risotto: Long-grain rice won’t do. Almost-constant stirring releases the starch from the rice and lends the dish its famous creaminess. The added Parmesan cheese is a must, especially for Cabrera. Adapted from “Diamond Dishes” by Julie Loria (Lyons Press, $24.95).
- 1 pound large shrimp
- 5 cups canned reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 11/2 cups risotto rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
- 2 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Peel and devein the shrimp, reserving the shells. Butterfly each shrimp by cutting almost completely open along the curvature where the vein was. Refrigerate the shrimp.
Combine the broth, 1 cup water, and the reserved shells in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Using a wire sieve, scoop out and discard the shells. Reduce the heat to very low so the stock stays hot.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice looks mostly translucent, about 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute.
Stir about 3/4 cup hot stock into the rice. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until the rice absorbs almost all of the stock, about 3 minutes. Adjust the heat so the rice stays at a steady simmer. Stir in another addition of stock, and stir almost constantly until the liquid is almost absorbed. Repeat, adding more stock as it is absorbed, until you use nearly all of the stock and the rice is barely tender, 20–25 minutes. If you run out of stock and the rice isn’t tender, add hot water.
Add the shrimp, tomatoes and saffron and cook until the shrimp is firm and opaque, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan and the heavy cream. Add the rest of the stock to give the risotto a loose, runny consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the risotto into deep bowls and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve hot, with additional Parmesan on the side.
Makes 4 main-course servings.
Per serving: 568 calories; 17 g fat (7 g saturated fat; 27 percent calories from fat); 66 g carbohydrates; 208 mg cholesterol; 968 mg sodium; 33 g protein; 3 g fiber.
25 minutes to make; 25 minutes to cook