It’s early July and I am in full on summer mode. Between the Fourth of July, going on vacation to Cape Cod and seeing summer produce pop up everywhere, all I want to do is spend time outside and cook up all sorts of delicious dishes using said summer produce.
Cue this super summery Shrimp and Corn risotto. I absolutely love risotto. It was one the first recipes I loved to cook and really honed in on. It’s not exactly the most summery dish, so I began dreaming up ways to make it as summery as possible. One of the first summery produce items I think of is CORN. Which, by itself creates a delicious risotto dish, but I wanted to add in a protein as well. Shrimp is the perfect delicate protein that compliments corn well (like in shrimp and corn chowder). And just to spice it up even more, I threw in some zucchini and lemon, also great summer staples.
I know risotto is a labor of love kind of dish, you have to stand there and constantly stir it to release all the beautiful starches. But trust me, it is always worth it with risotto. And with this recipe? Definitely worth it! It may be my favorite risotto I’ve created yet!
To start out, dump the contents of the vegetable stock container into a medium sauce pan that is set out over low heat on one of the back burners. You’ll want to keep your stock warm, as it will more easily absorb into the rice during cooking.
The next step is to cook the vegetables and shrimp. You can do this in a hot cast iron pan or on the grill. You want to essentially create a ‘fire roasted’ look and taste, which will give the dish extra flavor. I chose the cast iron pan route. I heated up a little bit of oil in the pan and set it over high heat. I first added the corn and let it sit a few minutes to develop a char on one side, about 3-4 minutes. Then I gave the corn a toss and cooked an additional 1-2 minutes.
Remove the corn from the pan, place in a bowl and set aside. Next, add the zucchini to the pan and again, leave it for a few minutes to get it brown on one side, then flip to cook the other side a few more minutes. Remove zucchini from the pan and set aside. Lastly, cook the shrimp, a few minutes each side until opaque and pink. Remove from pan and set aside with the corn and zucchini.
For the risotto, you can use the same pan or, if you’d like to start the risotto while cooking the vegetables and shrimp, heat up a separate pan over medium heat with olive oil. Add garlic and onions and saute 3-4 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Next, add the arborio rice and toast for 2-3 minutes. Toasting the rice releases a slightly nutty aroma and the flavor or the rice.
After the rice has toasted, add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Make sure to scrape up the bits, or fond, that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. This fond will only add delicious flavor to the dish. Stir the rice to ensure the wine absorbs into the rice.
Once the wine is absorbed, add one ladle full of stock to the risotto. Stir constantly, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Add another ladle full and continue the process, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been used.
At this point I like to taste the risotto. It should have just a slight bite, but not be too hard. If rice is still hard, add a ladle of water and continue cooking another 5 minutes before proceeding with the next steps.
To make this risotto creamy, combine 1/2 cup of the cooked corn with cream cheese and milk (any works) to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Add this to the risotto, mix and watch your risotto transform into a creamy, luscious dish!
Last step is to add all the mix ins and seasonings. Toss in the corn, zucchini, shrimp, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt and pepper. I’d recommend tasting the risotto, and adjust the salt and pepper as needed.
A completely optional, but highly recommended step is to top off your risotto dish with some fresh pesto. It compliments the shrimp and corn and risotto so beautifully and adds an extra punch of flavor. So, if you have it on hand, just please add it!
And there you have it. An incredibly delicious and summery twist on risotto. And here’s a little secret, this dish is even better left over. So double the recipe and make enough for the week. You won’t regret it!
- Dairy Free: Use dairy free cream cheese and almond milk.
- Vegan: Use dairy free suggestions above and omit shrimp or sub with tofu.
- Butter: Feel free to sub half or all of the olive oil with butter or ghee.
- Wine: If you prefer not to cook with wine, sub with an extra 1/2 cup of vegetable stock.
- Lobster: Lobster would be an amazing substitution for the shrimp!
- Corn: I highly recommend fresh corn for this dish, but frozen works as well.
Shrimp and Corn Risotto
- 1/2 cup risotto
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup white wine such as sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio
- 1 lb. shrimp
- 1 1/2 corn
- 1 zucchini sliced then halved
- 1/4 cup cream cheese regular or dairy free
- 1 tbsp milk regular or dairy free
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pesto optional
- Dump vegetable stock into a medium sauce pan and keep warm over low heat.
- Heat 1 tsp oil in a large cast iron pan over high heat. Add the corn and cook for 2-3 minutes, without stirring, to allow it to brown. Stir and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove corn from pan and set aside. Add zucchini, allow to brown on one side, about 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook other side an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan. Lastly, cook shrimp a few minutes each side, until opaque and pink. Remove from pan and set aside with corn and zucchini.
- Next start risotto. Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute 4-5 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add risotto and toast for 2-3 minutes. Add white wine to deglaze the pan.
- Once wine has been absorbed by the rice, add one ladle of vegetable stock. Stir constantly and allow the rice to absorb the liquid. Once stock has been absorbed, add another ladle of stock and stir. Repeat process until rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
- Add 1/2 cup of the cooked corn, cream cheese and milk to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
- Add the creamed corn, shrimp, zucchini, cooked corn, lemon juice and zest and mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Top completed dish with pesto (optional).