I hope the new year is off to a great start for all of you.
To me, it felt like this Monday was officially the start of the new year instead of last Friday since Bob and I lounged around most of the weekend after we put away all the Christmas decorations and Christmas dishes and platters and cookie tins.
Everything is back in its place in the attic, except for the Christmas tree. The tree will stay up until the Feast of the Epiphany or Little Christmas on January 6th and then we take the tree down and hope for a blessed year with much happiness, love, good health, and beautiful memories until we see the ornaments come out of the box and the tree go up once again.
I am getting back in the swing of things and starting a new routine for 2021 and the first item on my agenda is cooking and preparing healthier meals.
I am not starting a diet because that is always short lived but I am getting back to not giving in to all the sweets and treats around the house that arrived during the holidays. You know, the 37 days between Thanksgiving and New Years Day when caution is thrown to the wind and pounds add up on the scale. The cookies are now a memory.
Of course, I had to keep the Italian tradition of sausage and lentils for New Years Day to bring good luck. I made lentil soup with pancetta, carrots and spinach for New Years Day and sausage and peppers for New Year’s Eve so we were covered for good luck (I hope & pray).
The official old school Italian meal is lentils with a particular sausage called “Cotechino”– (see the photo below). I have substituted the Cotechino sausage because Cotechino is too fatty for me and I never liked the taste so I used sausage with broccoli rabe -which happens to be another good luck food.
Now back to regular weeknight meals.
I wanted to share a recipe I prepared today that was delicious and 30 minutes to cook and approximately 15 minutes to prepare. Today I made Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto. It is both, filling and easy.
I absolutely Love risotto of any kind and years ago I copied a basic recipe from Williams Sonoma and have tweaked the ingredients for different varieties like pumpkin, butternut squash, mushroom and now shrimp and asparagus.
I know, you think I would be tired of fish after the Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner for Christmas Eve but shrimp is a weakness that I could have every night. I hope you try the recipe and enjoy.
Risotto with Shrimp & Asparagus
- 6 cups low sodium stock (chicken, vegetable, or seafood)
- COOKS NOTE – when making seafood I lower the stock to 5 cups and add 1 (8 oz.) bottle of clam juice to = the 6 cups (this substitution is optional)
- 3 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp. of olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cups medium grain rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1/3 cup grated cheese (locatelli or Parmigiano-Reggiano)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb. medium shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 1 bunch asparagus (washed and diced)
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a simmer. Reduce the heat to keep warm.
In a large saucepan over medium heat melt 2 tbsp of the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp and asparagus and cook stirring for 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp and set aside and leave the asparagus to continue to cook.
Stir in the rice and cook, stirring, until the grains are hot and coated with the oil and butter, about 3 minutes.
Add the wine and continue to cook, stirring often until the liquid is absorbed.
Add the stock ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and making sure the liquid has been absorbed before adding more. The risotto is done when the rice grains are creamy on the outside and firm yet tender to the bite, 20 -25 minutes.
Remove the risotto from the heat. Stir in the remaining 1 tbsp of butter and cheese. Add the shrimp back in to the risotto and mix well. Taste for seasonings and serve immediately.
(can be drizzled with a good finishing olive oil).
Until my next post, make every day a celebration!
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