Risotto Milanese with Asparagus & Shrimp
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Risotto Milanese with Asparagus & Shrimp

People don’t think of risotto as a 30-minute meal, but it should take no more than 18 minutes from the time you start adding the liquid until it’s ready to serve.

Ingredients

  • Salt

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced on an angle into 1-inch pieces

  • 6 cups chicken stock

  • A healthy pinch of saffron

  • 4 tbsp. olive oil

  • ¼ to 1/3 lb. meaty pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1 ½ cups short-grain rice (such as carnaroli or Arborio)

  • 1 cup white wine

  • ¾ lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed

  • About 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped

  • 1 scant tsp. crushed red pepper

  • ½ cup dry (white) vermouth

  • A small handful (about 1/4 cup) of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)

  • 3 tbsp. butter

  • About 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preparation

  • Step 1

    Prepare a large bowl of ice water. In a pot, bring a couple of inches of salted water to a boil. Cook the asparagus for 2 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to the ice water to cool. Drain and pat dry.

  • Step 2

    In a medium saucepan, warm the stock and saffron over low heat.

  • Step 3

    In a round-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. When the oil begins to smoke, add the pancetta. Cook, stirring often, until the fat renders, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, 2 garlic cloves, and black pepper; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir until coated, about 1 minute. Add the wine and stir until absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the warm stock, a few ladlefuls at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. From the time you start adding the stock, the risotto should take exactly 18 minutes to cook.

  • Step 4

    When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, heat the remaining 2 tbsp. oil, two turns of the pan, in a medium skillet over medium-high to high. Add the shrimp; season with salt, the thyme, crushed red pepper, and the remaining 2 garlic cloves. Cook, tossing, until the shrimp are almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the vermouth. Cook, swirling the pan, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 1 minute. Add the parsley, lemon juice, and 1 tbsp. butter. Remove from heat.

  • Step 5

    When the risotto has been cooking for 18 minutes, stir in the remaining 2 tbsp. butter, the Parm, and asparagus. Ladle the risotto into shallow bowls. Top with the shrimp.

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