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Maine Shrimp Risotto

This is a standard risotto recipe, but the shrimp stock, shallots and sweet shrimp make it lighter than you would expect, yet still filling. Be sure to add the shrimp meat last; its delicate flavor is canceled out by overcooking. Let the warmth of the rice do the work. If you have any left over, shape into balls the next day, add zest from 1/2 of a lemon, roll them in bread crumbs and fry in oil, finishing with a dusting of Parmesan for a lighter twist on arancini, or risotto balls.

Makes 4 to 6 servings of risotto (and 4 cups or more of stock)

2 pounds Maine shrimp, shells and heads on

1 cup dry vermouth (or dry white wine)

2 cups water

3 tablespoons butter, divided

Olive oil

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped shallots or diced white onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 shallot, minced

2 cups arborio rice

3/4 cup dry white wine

Handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives

Sea salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

For Stock

Clean the shrimp, removing heads and shells. Set aside shells and heads.

Combine the vermouth (or dry white wine) and 1 cup water and bring to a boil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the shells and heads and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove everything from the pot, reserving the liquid.

In the same pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with a splash of olive oil. Add celery, shallots and carrots and stir until soft. Return shells, heads and liquid mixture to pot and simmer for 25 minutes.

Strain the liquid though a colander, pressing on the solids.

For Risotto

Heat the broth and keep warm.

Heat the oil, butter and shallot and cook until soft. Add the rice and cook for about 5 minutes, until its color has turned brighter white.

Add wine and cook until it is mostly absorbed. Stir constantly over medium heat. Add 1 cup broth and cook until mostly absorbed. Add a half-cup of broth and cook until mostly absorbed. Repeat and continue to cook until rice is tender but firm — total time should be 18 to 20 minutes.

If the rice is cooked through and some liquid remains in the pan, just add parsley and chives, remove from heat and add shrimp. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir and serve.

Shrimp should be cooked in less than 3 minutes. If there is no liquid in the pan, add some of the remaining broth.

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