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August 20, 2015

Mr. B's Famous Shrimp Risotto

The Secret? Shrimp Stock!
How could it be that summer is coming to an end, I wondered. But as I made my way up the hillside on an early morning walk, I couldn't help but notice the apricot trees, their branches sagging beneath the weight of hundreds of small orange fruit, And, nearby, the first of the fall apples were just turning red, the lower branches already picked clean by foraging deer.

My life has been a whirlwind of activity and with work seeping in, there's been little time for cooking or writing. Like the deer, I've been foraging, too. Nibbling on cheese sticks and polishing off handfuls of fat juicy summer grapes and even emptying the occasional box of crackers and the more usual bottle of wine.

Mr. B's been on his own to navigate through the stack of assorted meats--grass-fed steaks, thick pork chops, fat chicken thighs--that I somehow manage to buy each week. With rare exception, he's more likely to fire up the grill than to rattle pans, so even his suppers have taken on a utilitarian simplicity.

So it was that one Friday night, not so long ago, we found ourselves in that frantic moment of realization that we had nothing to cook--an especially frustrating feeling to have with a freezer full of meat. Thankfully, there's always the loose bag of frozen shrimp on hand, which after a quick run under cold water, thaw quickly enough.

It was Mr. B who sensed a cooking intervention was in order and thus, suggested we work together to cook up a delectable shrimp risotto. He quickly peeled the shrimp and made a stock, while I minced onions and garlic and with just a handful of ingredients and in less than 35 minutes, we we're happily tucking into big bowls of perfectly cooked risotto--the perfect remedy for dusting away our culinary cobwebs and getting back to manning our trusty Amana.

Mr B's Famous Shrimp Risotto

1 small onion, finely minced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 lbs of shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 cups of risotto
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
White Vermouth
Parmesan cheese of good quality
2 to 3 green onion tops, thinly sliced
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

shrimp stock*

Shrimp Stock
1. Peel and devein shrimp, saving shells.
2. Put shrimp shells into a small saucepan (add onion and garlic scraps, too) and cover with water.
3. Add a bay leaf or two and bring to a boil; let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Shrimp Risotto
1, Melt butter over medium heat until lightly browned and nutty; add olive oil.
2. When butter and olive oil are hot, add onion and cook until translucent; add garlic and continue cooking until garlic softened, but not browned.
3. Add risotto; cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until just turning golden.
4. Add a plash of white vermouth and stir until vermouth evaportaes.
5. Begin adding stock to the risotto a ladle full at a time, constantly stirring the risotto (this will give you a final creamy risotto).
6. When the risotto is almost cooked through, add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are pink and just cooked.
7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Spoon into warm bowls and top with good Parmesan cheese and sliced green onion tops.
9. Enjoy with a glass of wine and good conversation.

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