1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
salt and freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
In a small nonreactive saucepan, warm the saffron and wine over moderate heat for 1 minute. In a medium saucepan, boil the shrimp shells with 6 1/2 cups of water over high heat for 5 minutes. Strain the stock into a medium saucepan; keep hot over moderately low heat. In a large nonreactive saucepan, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until just opaque, about 3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and the onion to the pan and cook over moderately high heat until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice. Add the saffron liquid and boil it until almost completely evaporated.
Add 1 cup of the hot shrimp stock or just enough to form a thin veil over the rice. Gently boil the rice, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this procedure, adding the hot stock 1 cup at a time, until it is all used and the rice is tender but firm. Add the shrimp and cook just to warm through. Fold in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Serve at once.
This dish was wonderful, every bite better than the one before. I did make some changes: it was for only two of us, so I halved everything except the wine and saffron. I also substituted sea scallops for half the shrimp, and cut both into pieces about the size of bay scallops. I had some old shrimp shells in the freezer, so I added those to make up the difference in the broth. I also left out the tomatoes, just because I don't like them, but the recipe would be better with some sort of diced veggie mixed in... maybe sugar snap peas? The trick is to complement the very delicate flavors without overwhelming them. I served it with steamed broccoli with shaved parmesan... would have been better with a simple salad and maybe some fresh bread. I might serve this to company, but it requires so much time at the stove that it might be better for a romantic dinner for two. Not a quick or easy dish, but well worth it.
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