Creamy Shrimp Risotto with Parmesan
This shrimp risotto is ultra-rich, creamy, and tossed with perfectly cooked, tender shrimp for an impressive, restaurant-quality dish that’s easy to make at home! Based on my risotto that’s requested at every family function, this shrimp risotto is filling and simply delicious.
If you’re in the mood for a risotto but need it to be low carb or Whole30-compliant, try our Quick Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken and Asparagus (Whole30, Paleo, Dairy Free, Low Carb)!
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- Shrimp risotto is a beautiful, elegant dish that’ll impress anyone you make it for. It’s easier to make than it seems, though, so don’t be intimidated!
- The shrimp is perfectly cooked, just tender – not rubbery or tough. A quick toss in lemon juice brings out the natural flavor of the shrimp without overpowering.
- The key ingredient is patience. Risotto takes a little time, but believe me, it’s worth it! The low-and-slow cooking method is what makes the dish so incredibly creamy. Don’t give in to the temptation to rush!
Shrimp – Frozen, wild caught shrimp is the best choice for any shrimp recipe, but especially shrimp risotto. And yes, you read that right. Frozen. Unless you live somewhere to get actual fresh shrimp straight from the boats, frozen shrimp will actually be better than fresh shrimp. Why? Because fresh shrimp is frozen between the boat and your grocery store. Once it reaches your store, it’s thawed and set out in the cases and boats you see it in when you’re shopping. Frozen shrimp is frozen off the boat and stays frozen until you buy it and bring it home.
Arborio Rice – This short-grain, Italian rice is known for its high starch content and is a go-to rice for risotto. All that starch is what makes risotto so amazingly thick and creamy. If you don’t have arborio rice, you’ll want to use another, similarly short-grain/high-starch rice. Some rices will be labeled “risotto rice”, and those would be fine. Sushi rice would also work in a pinch. Avoid long grain rices, since they won’t give you the texture and consistency you need for shrimp risotto.
Saffron Threads – This is actually an optional ingredient, BUT I highly recommend using it! Saffron adds this amazingly rich flavor and golden color to the shrimp risotto. This recipe only calls for a pinch of saffron threads, which, depending on your preferences, could be anywhere from 5 threads to 50. Since saffron can be pretty strong, I would play it safe and use less than you think you’ll need/want.
- Don’t overcook the rice. Everything should be creamy, yes, but not mushy. The arborio rice will ideally have a little bit of chewy texture. Taste the risotto in the last 5-10 minutes until you’ve got a barely-softer-than-al-dente texture.
- Don’t rinse the rice before cooking! Rinsing it removes the starch from the outside of the grains, and you need that starch to get the right consistency.
- What to pair with shrimp risotto? I like to offset the creaminess of the rice with a crisp green vegetable, like asparagus, broccoli, or green peas.
Other Amazing Recipes You Need to Try
- Marry Me Chicken
- Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe (Restaurant Style)
- Blackened Shrimp with Remoulade Sauce
- Healthy Jambalaya with Sausage & Shrimp (Whole30, Low Carb, Paleo)
- Instant Pot Carne Asada
- Best Ever Tom Kha Gai Soup (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
For the Risotto
- 4-5 cups chicken stock
- water if needed
- 1 pinch saffron thread optional, see Notes
- 6-7 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice uncooked, unrinsed
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
For the Shrimp
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Large saucepans (2)
- Small bowl
- Paper towels
- Sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- In large saucepan over high heat, bring chicken stock to boil then reduce to low simmer.
- Ladle small amount of chicken stock from saucepan into small bowl. Add saffron threads and set aside to infuse.
- While saffron infuses, melt 5 tablespoons butter in another large saucepan. When melted, add onions, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Note: cook only until softened, not browned.
- Add rice to saucepan with onions. Stir until some grains start to pop, then add 2-3 ladles of stock, all of saffron liquid, and salt & pepper to taste. Stir over low heat until liquid has absorbed. Continue adding ladles of stock, letting liquid absorb into rice completely before adding more. Important: stir constantly to avoid sticking or burning. After 20-25 minutes, rice should be just tender and the liquid thick and creamy.
- Toward end of 20-25 minute window while rice is cooking, also cook shrimp. Roasted Shrimp: Pat shrimp dry with paper towels then scatter them evenly on sheet pan. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt. Roast in preheated oven for 9 to 10 minutes or until just pink and only slightly curled (not in C-shape). Remove from oven and toss with lemon juice.Sautéed Shrimp: Alternately, pat shrimp dry with paper towels then sauté in separate pan with 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil over medium-high heat, approximately 2 minutes or until just pink and only slightly curled. Remove from heat and toss with lemon juice and salt.
- When rice is tender, remove saucepan from heat. Add parmesan cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon butter, stirring until butter has melted.
- Stir in half of cooked shrimp. Season with salt if necessary. Portion into bowls and top with remaining shrimp and additional parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.
- Saffron: The saffron in this recipe is optional, but highly encouraged. It adds a rich flavor and gorgeous golden color to the risotto. Depending on your tastes, a pinch of saffron could be anywhere from 5 threads to 50. A little goes a long way, so I recommend keeping the amount low to not overpower the dish.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.
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