Lemon Risotto with Shrimp

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Lemon Risotto with Shrimp - finish with script

Buon giorno!

Yeah, yeah, yeah – Risotto and Shrimp – NOT!!! This LEMON RISOTTO WITH SHRIMP is something a little different. If you like lemon – this one is for you. The lemon flavor permeates every bite with one added surprise – Limoncello.

Limoncello, the lemon liqueur from the Amalfi Coast found in most liquor stores, is an unexpected ingredient here. Usually, lemony and sweet, it is used in desserts and served after dinner. However, when used in very small amounts, as it is here, it adds a very subtle underlying sweetness that does not interfere with the flavors of the dish and actually enhances the experience. It is that extra something that no one can quite identify! It demonstrates the value of not over using an ingredient.

The addition of the Limoncello is optional. Without it, you have a lovely lemon risotto – but without that certain inexplicable essence that makes this dish something more –  a stand out.

A word about ingredients: Cooking really good Italian food is mostly dependent on one thing – ingredients! Your food will always reflect what you put in it. Risotto is a good example. If you use mostly fresh ingredients, good olive oil, the proper short grain Italian rice, warm broth, and good Italian cheese – your Risotto will be far better than one that cuts corners or substitutes quality.

This is a beautiful dish that you will love serving as a main course or as a first course in a smaller amount. Either way – you will win hearts at your Italian table!


Serves: 4 as a main course

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: about 40 minutes


3 Tbsp. Butter

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion – chopped

2 C. Arborio Rice (short grain Italian rice used for risotto – long grain rice does not yield the same result)

1/2 C. Vermouth

3 Tbsp. Limoncello – optional

Juice of a fresh lemon

1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Zest

5 1/2-6 Cups WARM Chicken Broth (always use warm broth for risotto)

1 C. Peas (can be fresh or frozen – if frozen, do not defrost – do not use canned)

1 lb. Fresh Raw Shrimp, peeled and cleaned

2 Tbsp. Fresh Basil – chopped

1/4 C. Mascarpone Cheese (Italian cream cheese – do not substitute)

2 Tbsp. additional Butter

1/2 C. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano – or Montasio Cheese

Fresh Chopped Basil for garnish


Place the butter and oil in a large shallow pan and melt butter.

Add the onion and cook 5 minutes and medium high.

Lemon Risotto - Shrimp 1

Add the rice and cook another 5 minutes, stirring to coat all of the rice kernels.

Lemon Risotto - Shrimp 2

Pour in the wine, Limoncello, Lemon Juice and zest.

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Cook down for a couple of minutes until the wine is absorbed.

Now begin to add the warm broth – about a cup or a large ladle at a time. Let each addition of broth be absorbed before adding the next one – all the while stirring.

When you are more than 1/2 way through adding the broth – add the peas, shrimp, and basil.

Lemon Risotto- Shrimp 6

Continue to stir and add the broth as each addition absorbs until the rice is tender to the bite.

Then turn off the heat and add the Mascarpone – stir in and let melt.

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Then follow with the grated Parmigiano  – stir in. Then add the 2 tbsp. additional butter. Melt in.

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Garnish with fresh chopped Basil.

Your LEMON RISOTTO WITH SHRIMP is finished and ready to eat! Risotto is always best served right away. I would recommend a beautiful crisp Falanghina for your wine pairing.


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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography

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