It is important to synchronize the timing of the risotto with the cooking time of the added ingredients— in this case, shrimp need a very short cooking time, 5 to 6 minutes or, depending on their size, two minutes more or less. Begin cooking the shrimp in the last 6 minutes of the risotto so they remain crunchy and juicy. Sear them first to intensify their flavor and to prevent them from losinge all their flavor in the rice.
- 1 pound medium-size shrimp (about 25 to the pound)
- One 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained, seeded (about 2 cups)
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup minced onion
- ½ cup minced shallots
- 1 ½ cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 5 to 6 cups hot lightly salted water
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
Peel the shells and tails from the shrimp. With a small knife, make a shallow cut along the back of the shrimp to remove the dark vein. Cut the shrimp crosswise into thirds. Pour the tomatoes into a blender and blend them at low speed until smooth.
Drain the plum tomatoes and remove their seeds. Puree the tomatoes in a blender until smooth. Pass the puree through a sieve. Set the puree aside.
In a heavy, wide 3- to 4-quart casserole or pot, heat the 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and shallots and cook them until golden, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Toast the rice until the edges become translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour in the wine and stir well until evaporated. Add the tomato puree and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. The tomato should be simmering at this point. Add 1 cup of the hot water. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue to add the hot water in small batches— just enough to completely moisten the rice— and cook until each successive batch has been absorbed. Stir constantly and adjust the level of heat so the rice is simmering very gently while adding the stock.
About 10 minutes after adding the tomato puree heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic, then add the shrimp to the skillet, and cook until they are bright pink on both sides and firm, about 2 minutes.
Add the contents of the skillet to the rice. Mix well and cook, adding water as described above until the rice is creamy and al dente, 3 to 4 minutes longer. (The total cooking time for the rice after adding the tomato is about 18 minutes.)
Remove the casserole from the heat and beat in the chopped parsley. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary, and pepper.
Serve immediately, ladled into warm serving bowls.