Risotto is a classic Italian dish that oozes comfort. Traditional risotto is made with rice, and while most are gluten free, the rice used is very high in starch and not very high on our list of preferred ingredients. People often mistake risotto as containing loads of cream, when in fact, it’s the high starch content of arborio rice and the slow stirring that make it “creamy”. The other common ingredients are onion, wine, and butter.
In this recipe the rice has been replaced by our old friend, cauliflower. While traditional risotto can take 45 minutes to an hour to prepare, this version is ready in under 20 minutes, which makes this a great weeknight meal. The risotto is paired with grilled shrimp, a little spicy and tart to compliment the richness of the rice.
A few notes about shrimp:
When buying shrimp, the size of the shrimp is indicated by the number per pound; 21/25 shrimp have 21-25 per pound. The larger the number, the bigger the shrimp. 21/25 are preferable here since they are quick cooking. Also, stay away from peeled and deveined shrimp, if possible, a lot of flavor is lost when they are peeled and deveined before freezing. Peeling and deveining is easy, it just takes a little time. Here’s a great video on the subject. Leaving the tail on makes for a more dramatic presentation, but if you are serving kids, removing them would be better since they can be sharp and should not be swallowed.
- 1 lb Shrimp (21/25), peeled and deveined
- 2 Tbls Oil of choice
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 small Shallot, minced
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 5 oz. Mushrooms, chopped
- 3 Tbls Butter (or fat of choice)
- 4 cups Cauliflower, riced
- ¼ cup White wine (or chicken stock)
- ⅔ cup Coconut milk (can)
- 2 Tbls Nutritional yeast, to taste
- 1 Tbls Fresh Tarragon, chopped
- 1 Lemon, zest and juice
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Black pepper
- Place cleaned shrimp in a bowl with the rest of the shrimp ingredients and allow to marinate while you prepare the risotto.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add butter, shallot and mushrooms. Cook for 3-5 minutes until onions are opaque and mushrooms are cooked down.
- Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add cauliflower and toss.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- At this point, place a grill pan or large cast iron pan for the shrimp over medium high heat.
- Add wine (or stock) to the risotto and simmer for 3-5 minutes until it is absorbed.
- Add coconut milk and allow to simmer until it is absorbed but still creamy, about 10 minutes.
- While rice is simmering, cook the shrimp.
- Grill each side 2-3 minutes until it is completely opaque, being careful not to overcook.
- Remove shrimp and set aside.
- When all the coconut milk has been absorbed, remove rice from heat.
- Stir in nutritional yeast, lemon zest and tarragon.
- Plate rice topped with shrimp and then spritz with lemon juice.
- Garnish with more tarragon and chives, if desired.