Mother Nature played a great April Fool joke on us today.  Snow.

I was not amused.

I am totally over cold weather.  I am ready for open windows and the gentle warmth of Spring.  And today it snowed.

It eventually turned to rain – and it’s still raining as I type – but it’s still cold.

Time for risotto.

The risotto idea came as I watched the snow falling this morning.  We needed something a bit substantial for dinner and I had a box of carnaroli rice at home that I wanted to try.  Carnaroli is a short-grain rice from the Lombardy and Piedmont areas of Italy.  It makes a really fine, creamy risotto. It’s only been grown for about 60 years – a relative newcomer – but it’s a popular rice because it’s quite forgiving.  It keeps its creaminess just a bit longer before turning to paste.

Risotto is a pretty easy – albeit time-consuming – process.  I generally don’t follow a recipe (you’re shocked, right?!?) but I went looking through some old Bon Appetite magazines for ideas and found one that is topped with a fried egg.  That caught my attention.  Victor still has a pasta dish he wants to make that is topped with a fried egg.

I decided it was worth looking into – but poaching the eggs, instead.  Timing is everything and it’s easier to poach four eggs than fry four eggs simultaneously.

A basic rule-of-thumb with risotto rices – arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano – is four cups of liquid to 1 cup of rice.  The liquid is heated and added slowly to slowly pull the starch out of the rice and make it creamy while still holding its shape. Any number of foods, herbs, and spices can be added.

This easily makes dinner for four people.  We have a goodly amount of leftovers!

Shrimp Risotto with Poached Eggs

  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup Italian beans (cut asparagus will also work)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 7 cups chicken broth, hot
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1  cup peas
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 1-2 eggs per person

Saute mushrooms and carrots until barely done.  Stir in beans.  Se aside.

Melt 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil in heavy risotto pan or heavy skillet. Add onion and sauté until beginning to soften. Add garlic.  Add rice and stir until translucent at edges, about 3 minutes. Add wine. Stir until liquid is absorbed.  Add 1/2 cup hot broth, stirring until broth is absorbed. Continue to add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, stirring often and letting almost all liquid be absorbed after each addition – 25 to 30 minutes total.

Add shrimp. Stir in 1 cup cheese, peas, and mushroom mixture.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mound onto plates, create indentation with spoon and top with eggs – poached or fried.

Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with cheese.

This was really fun and a perfect cold-weather dish.  It was warm and filling.

I also baked the last of my bread dough – fresh bread finished the meal.