This is not really an Italian dish, as there are too many components and most Italians do not even know what a parsnip is. But it sure is delicious. The combination of flavors and textures is great: sweet plump shrimp wrapped in salty smoky crunchy bacon, velvety sweet parsnip puree, crispy parsnip bark, and chewy creamy risotto with a deep shrimp flavor, studded with garden peas.
For 2 servings
10 large shrimp
10 thin slices of smoked bacon or smoked pancetta
parsnip bark and parsnip puree from 500 grams (1.1 lbs) of parsnips
130 grams (2/3 cup) risotto rice
75 grams (1/2 cup) garden peas
1 Tbsp tomato paste
80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
750 ml (3 cups) shrimp stock, see below
3 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, miced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the shrimp stock
500 grams (1.1 lbs) of shrimp heads and shells
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
To make the shrimp stock, simmer the shrimp heads and shells with onion, carrot, and celery in a litre (4 cups) of water for half an hour.
Strain the stock and discard the solids, but not before squeezing all of the liquid out of those heads. That is where the flavor is.
Pat the shrimp dry and season lightly with salt. (The pink shrimp in the photo are just as raw as the grey ones. These red shrimp from Argentina just look that way.)
Wrap each shrimp in a slice of smoked bacon or smoked pancetta, and arrange on a grilling rack in a single layer.
Keep the shrimp stock hot to make the risotto.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a wide thick bottomed pan. Add the onion and stir over medium heat until the onion is translucent.
Add the rice.
Stir over medium-high heat to toast the rice.
Add the white wine, and stir until it has evaporated.
Add a ladle of hot shrimp stock.
Stir until the stock has been absorbed.
When the stock has been absorbed, add another ladle of stock. Keep stirring and adding more stock until the rice is al dente, about 18 minutes. (If you run out of shrimp stock, use hot water instead.)
Add a tablespoon of tomato paste for color (and some flavor).
Add the peas while you are stirring the risotto. The moment to add the peas depends on how time the peas will need to be cooked. If they are small peas that were frozen (and blanched before frozen), only a couple of minutes will suffice.
Make sure the broiler is preheated by the time the rice is almost done.
Broil the bacon-wrapped shrimp, close to the broiler, until the bacon is golden brown and the shrimp barely cooked through, about 5 minutes. If the broiler is not hot enough or the shrimp too far away from the broiler, the shrimp will be overcooked before the bacon is golden and crunchy.
In the meantime, when the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, and add the remaining tablespoon of butter in small pieces.
Stir until the butter has melted, and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Gently reheat the parsnip puree. It is best to fry the parsnip bark just before serving, so it will still be crispy.
Serve the risotto with parsnip puree, parsnip bark, and bacon-wrapped shrimp on preheated plates.
This is great with a full-bodied dry white wine that was made with (some) new oak, such as an oaked Chardonnay, oaked Verdicchio, or white Rioja.