This dairy-free lemon shrimp risotto is made with seafood broth, Arborio rice, shrimp or prawns and lemon. Optionally, add roe or saffron for extra flavor and color!
A few summers ago, the husband and I traveled to Italy.
While we were there, we ate so much food. I couldn’t help myself; it was all so delicious!
One of my favorite meals was a bowl of risotto ai fruitti di mare (seafood risotto) that we enjoyed along the Arno River in Florence.
I’ve been trying to recreate that risotto at home, but the dish is typically filled with lots of shellfish that are hard to find locally (like mussels).
Recently, when I got a delivery of Alaska spot prawns from Sitka Salmon Shares, I decided to try a shrimp version of the risotto. And guys, I can’t get enough!
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What Is Risotto?
Risotto is an Italian rice dish.
The rice is cooked slowly over low heat, and warm broth or stock is added gradually to hydrate the rice. The end result is a creamy, luxurious rice.
What Size Shrimp Should I Use?
Use whatever size you have on hand!
You’ll need about eight ounces of shrimp, so if you use small shrimp you’ll simply have more shrimp than if you use a few extra-large shrimp.
What Are Shrimp Roe?
Shrimp (or prawn) roe are eggs!
Sometimes when you buy shrimp, it will arrive with the eggs still attached. The roe can be used as a garnish, added to shrimp stock or cooked into a dish (such as this risotto).
Shrimp roe is a completely optional ingredient.
Where Can I Get Seafood Stock?
You can buy seafood stock at the grocery store, although it can be a little harder to find than other types of stock or broth.
What Kind of Rice Should I Use?
I use Arborio rice for risotto. It should be easy to find at your grocery store, but you can also order Arborio rice online.
There are several other types of traditional risotto rice, but most of them are a little bit pricier and harder to find.
How to Make Shrimp Risotto
Start by cooking a diced onion until it softens. Add garlic and cook just a minute or two longer.
Add the rice and cook a minute or two.
You’re toasting the rice a little before adding the stock.
Next, add some red chili flakes.
If you’re using the shrimp roe, add it now.
Add white wine to the rice, and allow it to simmer until the wine is absorbed.
Next, add a half-cup of warm seafood stock to the rice, and (again) cook until the stock is absorbed.
Next, repeat. And repeat again.
You’ll continue adding small amounts of liquid, stirring, and then adding more liquid when the stock is completely absorbed.
You can test to see if the rice is ready for more liquid by using a spoon to push the rice to the side. If the space stays empty (and doesn’t fill with liquid), it’s time to add more stock.
When you’re almost out of stock, it’s time to add the shrimp.
Add the stock, shrimp and lemon zest to the rice.
The shrimp will cook through as they simmer in the rice.
When the liquid is absorbed and the shrimp are opaque, it’s done! Squeeze a little lemon juice on the rice and it’s ready to serve.
Serve this lemon shrimp risotto along with a glass of white wine, and pretend you’re eating it in Florence.
Lemon Shrimp Risotto
1-2 Days (Fridge)
- 3 cups seafood stock Or use vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- ¾ cup Arborio rice
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes Use ½ teaspoon for a little more heat.
- shrimp or prawn roe (optional, amount variable) Or use a small pinch of saffron (also optional)
- 1 cup dry white wine Or use an additional 1 cup stock or broth
- 8 ounces shrimp, shells + tails removed, shrimp deveined
- 1 lemon, zested + juiced (divided)
- extra sea salt, to taste (optional) Amount of salt needed will depend on how salty your stock or broth is.
- Heat stock in saucepan over medium heat until hot, and then keep warm on low heat.Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan (such as a wok) or a Dutch oven. When the oil begins to ripple, add the diced onion and cook 3-4 minutes until the onions soften.Add garlic to the pan and cook 1 minute.
- Add rice and stir 1-2 minutes to toast.Add the chili flakes. If using roe (or saffron), add it now.
- Lower the heat to medium-low. Add white wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until wine is completely absorbed (4-5 minutes). Ladle about ½ cup of stock into the pan, and stir every few minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.Test to see if you're ready to add more stock: Use a spatula or spoon to pull the rice across the pan. If the space immediately fills with liquid, the rice isn't ready. When the space stays dry, the rice is ready for more broth.
- Continue adding the stock in ½ cup batches, stirring until the liquid is totally absorbed before adding more stock.When you're almost out of stock, add the last ½ cup of stock, the shrimp and the lemon zest to the pan. Stir the shrimp into the rice, and continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed and the shrimp is opaque.
- Finally, add the lemon juice and stir. Taste the rice and add salt if desired. Serve immediately.
- If adding roe or saffron, the risotto will be a deep orange color.
- If omitting roe or saffron, you can (optionally) add a dash of turmeric to add a golden yellow color to the dish. Add the turmeric near the end of the cook time along with the shrimp.