Recipe courtesy of Carla Hall

Shrimp-and-Grits-Inspired Risotto

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Similar to cooking stone-ground grits, risotto requires a bit of time and patience since it too calls for stirring and standing at your stove. But with risotto, which uses a short-grain rice such as Arborio, you gradually add a hot liquid while stirring. This process releases the starch in the rice that gives the risotto its creamy texture. I add the trinity (onion, celery, and green bell pepper) to turn the white rice to brown in this Cajun-inspired dish. This gives the rice a savory depth, which is topped with a lemony poached shrimp. Bonus: the diced lemon segments are a fun burst of flavor.



  1. Remove the shells, including the head and tail, from the shrimp and reserve. Devein the shrimp. Refrigerate the shrimp until ready to use.
  2. Lay out a double layer of cheesecloth on a table and place the shrimp shells, lemon slices, bay leaves and peppercorns in the center. Gather the ends and tie up the cheesecloth into a bundle.
  3. Pour the chicken stock into a 4-quart pot. Drop the sachet in. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion, celery and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, 2 minutes. Pour in the wine. Stir and cook until the alcohol has been cooked off and most of the wine has been absorbed into the rice. Ladle 1 cup of the hot stock into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente and the mixture is thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes total. (You will have extra stock left over—I used 3 1/2 to 4 cups.) Remove from the heat, fold in the tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Return the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Drop the shrimp into the remaining stock and cook until they are pink and tender, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp with a spider or slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Stir in the parsley, lemon juice, diced lemon segments, celery leaves and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide the risotto among serving plates and top with the shrimp mixture. Garnish with additional parsley and serve immediately.