Saturday, May 5, 2007

Shrimp and Spinach Risotto

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup uncooked arborio rice
1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 pound cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a small saucepan, heat broth and keep warm. In a large nonstick skillet, saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic in butter until tender, about 3 minutes. Add rice; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Carefully stir in 1 cup of heated broth. Cook and stir until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Allow liquid to absorb between additions. Cook just until risotto is creamy and rice is almost tender. Total cooking time is about 20 minutes. Add the spinach, shrimp, cheese and pepper; cook and stir until spinach is wilted and shrimp are heated through. Serve immediately.

Tips and Tricks
This was listed as a side dish, but it makes a great main dish as well. Risotto requires some hands on time, but is very easy to make. I used frozen spinach (10 oz package) in place of fresh, and I used less garlic then called for. I also used presliced mushrooms to save time.
Make It Healthier
Rice is naturally sodium, gluten and cholesterol free, with only a trace of fat and no trans fats. Risotto can be as healthy as the ingredients you add to it.
How Kids Can Help
Pour the broth into the pot. Older kids can stir. Use Pampered Chef chopper to chop onion.
While arborio is the best rice for making risotto, any medium or short grain rice will work. Do not use long grain rice, it doesn't have the starch content to make the risotto creamy. Also, do not rinse the rice before cooking, because you need the starch the obtain the right texture. Keep the liquid warm. Adding cold liquid to hot rice extends cooking time. To make risotto with whatever you have on hand, follow these steps: saute aromatics (such as herbs or garlic) and add uncooked rice; add warm liquid, a bit at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed; stir in any of your favorite ingredients, such as cheese, veggies or cooked meats. The final texture should be creamy, but not soupy.

Nutrition Facts
1 1/4 cups equals 405 calories, 8 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 187 mg cholesterol, 906 mg sodium, 47 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 35 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
4 very lean meat, 2 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat

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