Creamy Parmesan Risotto Recipe made with shallots, white wine, and arborio rice simmered in a rich and flavorful homemade seafood stock with plump jumbo-sized shrimp. Super easy to make right at home for a delicious weeknight dinner!
Creamy Parmesan Risotto Recipe with Shrimp
If this is your first time making risotto, don’t worry, it is actually quite simple. With that said, it’s important to remember that this creamy Italian rice dish does not like to be rushed. Be prepared to spend 30 minutes dedicated to one thing and that is stirring the rice while slowly adding hot broth, one ladleful at a time, stirring and cooking slowly until the broth is absorbed and you can add the next ladleful.
Assuming my child isn’t running around the kitchen getting into snacks, I find the whole process quite relaxing. Pull up a chair or stool, sip on a glass of wine (white wine recommended for this recipe), and stir, stir, stir. That’s it.
What is Risotto?
Risotto, in its most basic form, is rice and broth. Having developed a reputation as being too complicated or one of those recipes better left to the professionals, many home-cooks overlook this warm and creamy Italian rice dish.
Risotto is actually quite easy to make, and ironically, one of the very first recipes I ever tried cooking myself (before I knew how to cook anything).
So what exactly is risotto? And how is it made?
Well, risotto is a creamy Italian rice dish. Some people compare it to mac and cheese, but I disagree (unless, of course, you add loads of cheddar cheese, then maybe…)
Made using arborio rice, risotto is cooked by slowly adding approximately 1/2 cup (or one ladle-full) of hot broth at a time. Known as the “risotto method”, this process allows the rice to release its starch to create a rich, luscious, creamy texture without the use of added cream or cheese.
A properly cooked risotto should not be stiff, nor should it run across the plate. It should have a little bounce to it, forming soft, fluffy mounds.
My favorite thing to garnish with nearly any Parmesan risotto is freshly squeezed lemon juice. Not required, but recommended.
What is Arborio Rice?
Arborio Rice is a type of short-grain white rice named after an area in Italy where it was originally cultivated – the town of Arborio in the Po Valley.
Short, plump, and oval-shaped, arborio is a variety of superfino rice and one of the largest of all short-grain Italian rice varieties belonging to the species Oryza sativa japonica.
High in the starch, amylopectin, upon cooking, arborio rice releases its natural starch, resulting in creamier, more luscious rice that is firmer and chewier when compared to regular rice such as long-grain basmati rice or jasmine rice.
Ingredients in Shrimp Risotto
- Shrimp (plus shrimp shells, optional, see below)
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Sweet paprika
- Shrimp or Seafood stock
- Garlic cloves
- Arborio rice
- Dry white wine
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh parsley and Lemon wedges
Since discovering how easy it is to make your own shrimp stock from shrimp shells, I now make my own whenever I have the chance and add it to recipes like this shrimp risotto, shrimp etouffee, and even this chicken and rice soup.
If you prefer not to make your own shrimp stock, substitute with:
- Low sodium chicken broth or chicken stock
- Vegetable broth
- Water (not recommended)
- Beef broth or bone broth (better for a mushroom risotto)
Do I have to add white wine?
Nope. Simply replace with 1/2 cup of broth.
Can I make this recipe vegetarian?
Absolutely. Use a veggie broth and omit the shrimp. Feel free to replace the shrimp with veggies like peas, asparagus, onion, and carrots.
How to Make Risotto
Full printable recipe with instructions below.
1. Prepare your ingredients. Once you start cooking the rice all of your attention will be on the rice. Prepare all your ingredients now, including the shrimp.
2. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and gently toss to coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and sweet paprika. Mix thoroughly to combine and set aside.
3. Cook the shrimp in a large skillet until fully cooked, approximately 2-3 minutes each side. Remove the cooked shrimp to a clean plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with any remaining shrimp.
4. Bring your stock (8 cups) to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and keep warm until ready to use.
5. Sauté the shallots and garlic until soft.
6. Add the arborio rice and mix thoroughly to coat in butter and shallots. Cook for 2 minutes or so, stirring often.
7. Add the white wine and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the wine has evaporated.
8. Begin adding the hot stock, one ladle at a time. Stir frequently. Wait to add another ladle until the broth/liquid has been almost completely absorbed by the rice. This process may take between 20-30 minutes. Text for doneness after the 15-minute mark.
9. When your risotto is ready, remove from heat and stir in the last of the butter and 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
10. Serve immediately garnished with freshly chopped parsley, lemon wedges, and additional Parmesan cheese. Top with plump cooked shrimp.
More Creamy Rice Recipes,
If you try making this Creamy Parmesan Risotto Recipe with Shrimp, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Creamy Parmesan Risotto with Shrimp
For the Homemade Shrimp Stock (optional)
- Shells from at least 2 pounds of raw shrimp
- 1 medium onion (roughly chopped)
- 2 ribs celery (roughly chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed)
- 5 large bay leaves
- 8 cups water
For the Parmesan Risotto with Shrimp
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp salt (divided)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 2 pounds shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 6 tbsp salted butter (divided)
- 8 cups homemade shrimp stock ((or low-sodium chicken stock, vegetable broth, or water))
- 4 shallots (minced)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 cups arborio rice (do not wash)
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups grated parmesan cheese (divided)
- Fresh parsley (to garnish)
- lemon wedges (for serving (at least 3-4 lemons))
For the Homemade Shrimp Stock (optional)
- If you haven't already, thaw the shrimp. Peel and devein each shrimp (leave tails on or remove, up to you). Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl and set aside in the refrigerator). Meanwhile, add the shells to a large pot. Add the roughly chopped onion, celery, smashed garlic, and bay leaves. Fill with approximately 8-9 cups of water (you will need 8 cups of stock, but the additional liquid will account for any liquid lost to avaportion).
- Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a separate pot or container and set over low heat to keep warm. Cover.
For the Parmesan Risotto with Shrimp
- Remove the shrimp from the refrigerator. Pat dry with paper towels and gently toss to coat with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and sweet paprika. Mix thoroughly to combine and set aside.
- To cook the shrimp, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook for 3 minutes before flipping and cooking the other side, approximately 2-3 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove cooked shrimp to a clean plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining shrimp (see notes).
- If using store-bought broth, bring to a simmer in a small pot over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and keep warm until ready to use.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven or large, wide, deep sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft, approximately 4-6 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the arborio rice and mix thoroughly to coat in butter and shallots. Cook for 2 minutes or so, stirring often to prevent the rice from burning. Add the white wine and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the wine has evaporated.
- Begin adding the hot stock, one ladle at a time, stirring frequently. Wait to add another ladle until the broth/liquid has been almost completely absorbed by the rice. Don't be tempted to rush this process as this is what makes risotto unique with its extra creamy consistency.
- Reduce the heat if you notice that the broth is evaporating rather than be absorbed, or the rice is boiling hard- it should be gently simmering. This will take approximately 20 minutes or so. It's ready when the rice is soft, but still slightly chewy. You may not use all of the broth (but likely most of it).
- When your risotto is ready, remove from heat and stir in the last 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve immediately garnished with freshly chopped parsley, lemon wedges, and additional Parmesan cheese. Top with plump cooked shrimp.
- Allow leftovers to cool before transferring to an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Spread the shrimp in an even layer over a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- In the last 5 minutes of cooking your risotto, transfer the shrimp to the oven and bake until the shrimp are pink and cooked through (approximately 5 minutes).
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)