Saffron Risotto with Corn and Shrimp

The October issue of Food & Wine magazine was waiting for me in my mailbox yesterday. This reminded me that I never posted and of the recipes I’d created that were inspired by the September issue. I get a lot of my inspiration from Food & Wine. Their recipes are elegant, unique, and very well tested. But the September issue, which included 50 recipes from the new south, was something special.

The issue also captured snapshots of almost all of my favorite things about the south – John T. Edge, Heirloom grains from Anson Mills, Frank Stitt and the culinary hot spot that is Birmingham, Alabama, Andrea Reusing who I think is a genius of David Chang proportions, Sean Brock, the Lee Brothers, and, Matt Neal, who’s father Bill gave us the best recipe for Shrimp & Grits I’ve tasted to date. All of these things have impacted my cooking, my approach to food, and my life in some way. While reading the issue in the sun in Central Park, I remember thinking it was as if the entire issue was written for me.

While I’m so late to the game on this one you probably can’t find the magazine (if you don’t have it already). But here are the links to recipes I’m dying to make:

I’ll post the ones I’ve tested or adapted in the next few days. This one, inspired by the Joshua Hopkins’ Shrimp and Saffron Rice with Fennel Salad, is hands-down my favorite!


  • Kosher Salt
  • White Pepper
  • Leaves from 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled – plus a few threads for presentation
  • Two tablespoons, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 greens onions, light green parts finely diced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup corn
  • 5 cups shrimp stock, warmed (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon butter , divided (see note)
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled, peeled, and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika


  • Combine thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, and saffron into a small bowl
  • Place a medium, heavy bottomed on medium high heat and drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and cook until soft, approximately 3 minutes.
  • Add the rice and stir for a minute or two until grains are well coated and slightly toasted. Add two large pinches of herb mixture.
  • Stir in the wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates, about 8 minutes. Pour in the corn and one cup of the warm stock. Stir with wooden spoon until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid. Add another large pinch of herbs.
  • Continue adding stock one cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the stock before adding the next cup and adding a pinch of fresh herbs each time.
  • After adding the last cup of broth, heat a medium non-stick skillet over high heat.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of lemon butter and shrimp to pan. Sprinkle shrimp with paprika and toss in pan until evenly covered. Cook on high, constantly tossing shrimp for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Once the risotto has absorbed the last bit of broth and is soft but still al dente, add remaining lemon butter, stirring until absorbed and divide risotto among five plates.
  • Top with Shrimp and few remaining saffron threads and serve immediately.

Notes: I realize most people don’t have lemon butter hanging out in the fridge. I don’t know why not because it is super easy to make and can brighten up almost any dish. Just mix the zest of two lemons into bowl containing a stick of room temperature butter. Store in an airtight container and use liberally.

I don’t believe in buying peeled, deveined shrimp. Why? Because those shrimp shells and tails are like gold and I want to keep them to make shrimp stock. You should do the same thing.

What you’ll need: A medium heavy bottomed pan, a medium sauce pan for warming the stock, and a large non-stick skillet.

What you want to know: One-fifth of this recipe is approximately 375 calories, 14 grams of fat, 1 gram of fiber and 8 WW points.

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Filed under Grains, Pasta

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