Zucchini Risotto with Shrimp

Here's the challenge, make zucchini and/ or yellow squash taste like zucchini or squash. Not easy, they are a lot like stone soup. Keep adding enough ingredients and soon enough you'll have a winner. The now disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong was the inspiration for this dish. In an interview he said he needed about 5,000 calories a day during le Tour. His go to meal was zucchini and pasta with grilled vegetables. How the hell can you get that much fuel from this? Like everything else Lance said it was just bullshit, you can't. 

That didn't stop me from coming up with this dish, soft and creamy like risotto, a great foil for many other ingredients like risotto and if you squint your eyes it even looks like risotto.

Let's see how this goes down in the Aga Kitchen. Remember read the recipe before you start jumping in, you'll be happier.

look how lonely and bland the zucchini and squash are, real wallflowers

 Gather up these ingredients and tools. This will feed 4 adults as a side dish and just like Mr. Armstrong I lied. This is not risotto, the technique is the opposite of that, we remove moisture not add, and there is no rice.

 

  • Nice heavy wide flat skillet, I used my red Le Cruset brazier, 3.5 qts, warm it up in the Baking Oven while you gather everything else. Wider is better here to promote evaporation.
  • rubber heat resistant spatula
  • box grater, medium size holes
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 4 green zucchinis or yellow squash, seeds removed, grated on the box grater 
  • pat of fat, lard, EVOO, veg oil, even butter, your choice
  • 1 # shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • bay leaf if you have one

Let's break it down step by step.

my trusty box graterjust before I add the shrimp

Step 1. Admit you have a problem

Step 2. Add fat and onion to pre warmed skillet, toss to coat onions with oil, season with a pinch of salt and into Baking Oven for 10 minutes. Use your timer.

Step 3.  Timer goes beep, add grated zukes and bay leaf to pan, season with salt and pepper and toss with onions. Before it goes back into the oven be sure you scrap any vegetable off the side where it may dry out and burn. Set timer for 20 minutes.

Step 4. Timer goes beep, toss around the vegetables, scrap down the sides again. You should see a bit of steam and the vegetables giving up their liquid. Back into Baking Oven and set timer for 15 minutes.

Step 5.  You guessed it, timer goes beep and add the peeled shrimp, check that nothing is sticking to the sides. Back into the Baking Oven and set timer 10 minutes.

Step 6. Remove from oven and on to the Simmer Plate, add cream toss to coat and reduce by a little. Check shrimp for doneness, they should feel firm but spring back when touched, and taste for seasoning.

and the stars of today's recipe

That's it, pretty simple. We eliminated the water from the vegetables, concentrated the natural flavors and used a little fat to carry the message. Any shellfish works well here, lobster, oysters, clams, just adjuts cooking times, use good judgement.

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom

Peace, Gerry