When you are cooking with jumbo shrimp, always try to buy them with heads and shells on and peel them yourself. It is a little bit of work, but you can make a delicious stock from the heads and shells that is excellent to make a risotto or paella or to use for pasta sauce. If you are not using the heads and shells straight away, just throw them in the freezer until you do. Next time you will be able to make this very tasty risotto, for which you will need more heads and shells than than you will obtain from the shrimp needed to serve with the risotto.
(By the way, gamberoni is Italian for big shrimp, gamberi is Italian for normal shrimp, gamberetti is Italian for small shrimp. Apart from cooking I also like languages and having suffixes for both large and small things is something I really like about the Italian language. They even have a suffix for something ugly or awful as well: a very nasty shrimp would be gamberaccio!)
For 4 servings in a larger menu or 2 servings as a main course
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
500 grams (1.1 lbs) shrimp heads and shells
some flatleaf parsley
200 grams of mixed chopped aromatic vegetables (carrots, leeks, onion, celery stalks)
120 grams risotto rice (arborio)
1 small onion
1 glass (100 ml) of dry white wine
1 clove garlic
dried chilli pepper
Marinate the shrimp with olive oil, juice of 1/2 lime, red chilli pepper, minced garlic and salt. Keep in the fridge for a few hours, covered with plastic wrap. Stir now and then.
Sauté the shrimp heads and shells in a skillet in some olive oil over medium-high heat until they are pink in color.
Add water to cover (about 1 liter or 1 quart) and add chopped aromatic vegetables and parsley stalks. Bring to a boil and simmer for half an hour.
Use a ‘chinois’ (pointy metal colander as shown) and a pestle to filter the stock and get as much juice out of the shrimp heads as possible.
Simmer the stock that you obtained to concentrate it until you have about 500 ml (2 cups) left. Keep the stock hot and season lightly with salt.
(Unfortunately I did not take pictures of the next steps.)
Now make risotto:
- Melt some butter in a wide pan over medium to medium-high heat
- Sauté a small chopped onion in the butter
- Add rice when onion is translucent and fragrant
- Toast rice until hot
- Add a glass of white wine
- Stir until the wine has been absorbed or evaporated.
- Add 1/4 cup of stock. Stir until the stock has been absorbed or evaporated.
- Keep adding 1/4 cups of stock and stirring until all the stock has been used and the rice is al dente (test by tasting), about 16-18 minutes.
- Towards the end of the cooking time, add the juice of 1/2 lime. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add more lime juice if you like.
- Turn off the heat. Stir in a tablespoon of butter, cut up into small pieces.
To sauté the jumbo shrimp:
- Take the jumbo shrimp out of the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat a bit of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over very high heat.
- Sauté the jumbo shrimp very briefly in the hot oil. Take them out as soon as they are golden, since shrimp overcooks easily.
Serve the risotto on preheated plates with the sauteed shrimp, some chopped flatleaf parsley and a slice of lime on top.
This pairs well with a fruity dry white wine with nice acidity and some citrus going on such as sauvignon blanc (including Sancerre/Pouilly-Fumé) or riesling.