Cocktail Party Side Dish

Shrimp Risotto

This is a great risotto packed with deep flavors and based on a hearty shrimp stock. You’ll want to buy fresh shrimp with the heads still on. This makes a great early spring dish when the peas are fresh, but it really can be made year long.

Of course, the heart of this risotto is the shrimp. The better the shrimp, the better the dish. We stumbled onto this while experimenting to make the ultimate Friday night seafood dinner and after many tries, we decided this is nearest to perfection we could get.

Serves 4 appetizers or 2 hearty entrees .


  • 1 pound of fresh local (if possible) shrimp with their heads still on, remove heads and shells and set aside for stock, de-vein the shrimp, then refrigerate until needed
  • 7 cups of homemade chicken stock
  • 1 yellow onion, unpeeled cut in quarters
  • 1 teaspoon of peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup fresh green peas out of the shell
  • Chives, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, some extra for topping

Making It

  • Make the shrimp stock – take the reserved shells and shrimp heads, and add them to the chicken stock in a small heavy pot. Add the quartered onion, peppercorns, thyme, salt and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 45 minutes. Let the pot sit off heat for an hour, then strain the solids. Now have your shrimp stock.
  • For the risotto, take a medium dutch oven and put over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil and let it start to bubble, then add the shallots and red pepper flakes. Cook until translucent, then add the garlic and rice. Cook for two minutes and pour in the wine, then stir until the wine is completely absorbed in the rice. Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir until almost gone, then add stock to cover the wine a bit, and cook down until almost gone. Repeat this for 20 minutes
  • Add the shrimp and peas, and continue to stir – this should take 5 minutes (you don’t want to overcook the shrimp). Gradually add a little more stock if it becomes dry, you will have to take small tastes. When done, make sure there is only a little liquid left, then stir in the Parmesan cheese. Save some for topping the dish, too. Sprinkle chopped chives on top and serve.

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