Recipes   /   Shrimp and Zucchini Risotto

Shrimp and Zucchini Risotto

May 1, 2012 by Gabriele Corcos


Debi and I very often look at each other and say: “We need to go out, We need to have a fantastic dinner and celebrate ourselves, our Love!”. Then we pause.We smile and we say: “Nahhh, what do we make for dinner?”

Do not get me wrong, we love getting out of the house, indulge in a meal that for once is served to us, cooked by others, drink some good wine and then come home to a clean kitchen… no dishes to be done, the kids possibly asleep. Then strip our clothes off and keep on celebrating. Truth is, it does not happen that often. Debi and I go out, but for the most part is for work events, which means that the food is usually below our expectations… unless we go visit friends, and that for the most part happens to be a family affair where the daughters come along and get to enjoy some time out of the house as well.

The most romantic dinners we have as a couple are the ones that we have at home… in our comfort zone. Not to mention that by staying in, we do not have to drive back to our nest, and we can afford to drink a couple of glasses more…. no cops between my dining room and my alcove! We get to choose our menu, the wine we like, and if we really decide not to loose to much time, well, we can leave the dishes in the sink and start loosing our clothes on the way to bed…

And this is exactly what we will be doing this evening!

We will rent a movie for the kids and treat them to a TV dinner, while we set up our dining room, and make it as romantic as we can! We will buy flowers, we will uncork a bottle (or two) of one of our favorite wine, play some old school Bossa Nova from the 50s’, and make it a memorable evening. We will start cooking our dinner as the kids enjoy theirs, and after they eventually (finally) get in bed, we will sit down in front of each other, and bless the day we met… the day I looked at her, after a three hours conversation and I told her: “You are so cool, wanna have kids with me?”.

For this Valentine’s day we wanted to invite you to stay at home, skip the pre-packaged restaurant menu, avoid the surcharges and the last minute hustle of reserving a table in your favorite restaurant… and if your nanny is not available (mine bluntly told me “Sorry Gabriel, I am getting laid!”), do not despair, here is a recipe easy and tasty that will help you create the perfect Valentine’s Evening.

Tonight we drank a bottle of Santa Margherita, a wonderful Pinot Grigio from Trentino. It is not the driest Pinot you can find, but I believe that its very saddle sweetness is a perfect match for this recipe.

Thank you for joining us, once again, in our kitchen!!!

Serves: 4-6/ Prep Time: 20 minutes / Cooking Time: 55-60 minutes

  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 5  small zucchini, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Carnaroli rice
  • 1 1/4 cups dry white wine
  • 3/4 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

1In  a small pot, heat the stock over medium-low heat until just before boiling. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.

2In a deep 14-inch nonstick sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the zucchini and cook for about 15 minutes, until browned. Transfer the zucchini to a bowl and set aside.

3In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and foamy. Add the shallots and sauté for about 3 minutes, until tender.

4In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and foamy. Add the shallots and sauté for about 3 minutes, until tender.

5Add the rice and stir well, making sure all grains of rice are coated. Stir in 1 cup of the wine, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook it about 3 minutes to reduce slightly.

6Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly start adding the stock, a 4-to-6 ounce ladleful at a time, stirring constantly, giving the rice time to absorb the liquid each time before adding another ladleful, until the rice is al dente, 15 to 25 minutes.

7Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat until the butter is melted. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the chopped parsley and the remaining 1/4 cup wine.

8Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 3 minutes, until the shrimp turns bright pink. Remove the shrimp from the pan and reserve the pan juices.

9Add the Parmesan, zucchini, and cooked shrimp to the rice and stir well. Add the juices from the shrimp pan and cook for 5 minutes, until the shrimp juices are absorbed, adding stock as necessary to prevent the risotto from drying out.

10Serve on plates sprinkled with parsley, Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil.

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