I have a love affair with saffron. It may be because it appears in many dishes from my region, Lombardia—best known is Risotto alla Milanese. In my humble opinion, saffron marries perfectly with risotto, but I have used it in pasta sauces, vegetable medley and as a marinade for either a nice halibut filet or a juicy rib eye steak.
For this recipe, I ventured a bit outside my comfort zone and purchased precooked, frozen shrimps from the new, pimped out Whole Foods Market in Charlottesville. It may look intimidating, but this dish is a breeze. I promise. All you need is 1 1/2 cups of shrimps (any size will do), garlic, good white wine, 2 packets of saffron, 4 cups of Arborio rice (for 4 people), 1 cup of vegetable stock, salt and pepper. See? Nothing too fancy.
Mince the 3 cloves of garlic and place them in the cooker with some extra virgin olive oil. Roast the garlic for 3 or 4 minutes, or until golden. Add the cut and cleaned shrimps and the saffron and cook for about 2 minutes. The saffron that I use is from Italy and was sent to us by Francesco’s parents. I use two packets or the equivalent of 2 teaspoons. Mix the ingredients until they all look uniformly orangey. Call me crazy, but I just LOVE the color of saffron.
Add the Arborio rice and cook all the ingredients for 5 to 10 minutes. Now comes the fun part. Add the wine, and don’t be alarmed if it makes all kinds of noises and smoke. Stir it until the rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the vegetable stock and make sure the liquid covers all the ingredients.
Add salt and pepper, taste it and cover it up. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Once it’s ready to serve, sprinkle some Parmigiano Reggiano and let it melt. Buon Appetito!
Risotto – rice
Zafferano – saffron
Aglio – garlic
Gamberetti – shrimps