Lemony risotto with shrimp. And chardonnay.

Tonight’s supper was a one-dish wonder . . . full of spring’s brightest colors (lemons and asparagus) and topped with buttery shrimp.  My family ate it up in a snap and asked why there’s never anything that good on the menus of the restaurants they frequent.

There’s nothing that warms the heart of a Domestic Dilettante more than hearing her children wonder about the state of the world’s culinary  achievement.  “Yes, my sweet ones,” she murmured, “your mother feeds you right.” Or maybe she thought it, in between sips of wine.

A fine Chardonnay is a must for this dish.  The cook must pop the cork and pour a generous glass before preparation begins.  How else is one to summon the patience for risotto?  All that stirring is much more pleasant in between sips.

A glass of wine and a bouquet of flowers are lovely additions to supper.

And a few splashes in the pot are de rigueur.

Lemony Risotto with Shrimp

5 cups chicken broth, heated to a low simmer

1 pound peeled uncooked shrimp

1 bunch asparagus

1/ 2 cup minced onion

6 TBLS butter, divided

1 TBLS olive oil

1 1/4 cup Arborio rice

2/3 cup dry white wine, divided

1 TBLS lemon zest

2 TBLS lemon juice

3/4 cup grated cheese, Parmesan and Asiago mixed in equal proportions

2 TBLS chopped parsley

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 tsp salt

Cracked pepper to taste

Shrimp preparation: Melt 2 TBLS butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until foamy.   Saute shrimp, adding 1/3 cup wine after shrimp begins to turn pink.  Continue to toss shrimp until fully cooked, then toss with lemon juice.  Cover and keep warm.

Risotto preparation: Bring chicken broth to a low boil in a medium saucepan.  Cut asparagus stalks in half and add to pot.  Cook until barely tender, about four minutes.  Remove asparagus from pot and plunge into an ice bath to stop cooking. Keep broth simmering, transfer asparagus to a platter and drain.  Chop into one-inch pieces and set aside.

Heat 2 TBLS butter in a large saucepan until foamy.  Add minced onion and saute until tender, 3-4 minutes.  Add rice to pot and stir until well-toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Add salt and 1/3 cup wine and stir until wine is absorbed, about a minute.

Begin adding broth, one-half cup at a time, and stir constantly until all liquid is absorbed.  This will take quite some time and requires a glass of wine patience.  After successive additions of broth, you will begin to see the rice plump up and turn whiter.  You can taste it after each addition of broth if you like in order to become familiar with its “bite.” After a minimum of 20 minutes and several additions of broth, your risotto will be ready.  I like mine very soft, with little noticeable bite, but I know many people like it al dente.  Stop adding broth whenever you find its consistency to your liking.

Add 2 TBLS butter, lemon zest, chopped asparagus, parsley, cheese and cream.  Stir well. Spoon into a bowl or on a plate and top with several shrimp and cracked pepper.

Serves 4.

A perfect spring supper.

Because you can never get too close to risotto.

For those of you who know the Magpie for her tablescapes, you’ll forgive me for today’s omission.  I built a blog this afternoon and had little time for setting the table.  There’s some wine left if that will make you feel better.

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