Shrimp Risotto

Whip up some Shrimp Risotto for an easy yet elegant dinner. This seafood dish is impressive but is a cinch to make.

bowls of shrimp risotto on a blue tile countertop.
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Shrimp Risotto Recipe

It's no secret that risotto is one of my favorite dishes to make. I've loved it ever since my time in Italy as a college student.

These days, I seem to only pull out the arborio rice on special occasions.

Don't get me wrong: Cooking risotto is very easy and can be made for a weeknight dinner. But it's such a great thing to make for date night or a dinner party, so I tend to save it for those times.

Besides the creamy texture, what I love about risotto is how versatile it is. Want it vegetarian? You got it. Want it with chicken? Sure. Want it with seafood? No problem. Dream big.

This shrimp risotto is the perfect combination. Cooked with onion, spinach and butter, this is an indulgent dish that no one will think was super low-effort. (But I promise it is!)

shrimp on risotto in a bowl

Why you'll love this recipe

We made this recently and writing about it is giving me the hankering all over again. I just know you're going to love it and here's why:

  • Shrimp is a quick-cooking protein to add to risotto.
  • Cooking risotto isn't as hard as you'd think!
  • Simple ingredients come together for a a restaurant-quality dish with a rich flavor.

Make this the next time you have a few friends coming to dinner or serve it up for a romantic date night at home. It's a great one for Valentine's Day! And you can even make this one for a weeknight meal.

What Is Risotto?

Risotto is a classic Italian dish that's made from starchy, short-grain rice such as Italian Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice.

This type of rice can absorb a lot of liquid, so they are often served with a cheese sauce, broth or wine sauce. Some people might even call the creamy risotto Italian mac and cheese!

Risotto is made by slowly adding warmed broth into the rice grains allowing it to absorb the broth as you go.

cooking shrimp in butter in. pan

Ingredients

Here's what to pick up at the grocery store for this seafood risotto:

  • arborio rice: Find risotto rice in the rice and pasta aisle.
  • garlic: Freshly minced or pre-minced work great.
  • onion or shallot
  • white wine
  • chicken broth
  • onion
  • spinach
  • butter: Unsalted or salted is fine. (You can always add more salt if it needs it!)
  • frozen or raw shrimp: Get it deveined, but tails can be left on or removed.
  • salt
  • black pepper

If you like you can top it with parmesan cheese, lemon zest, diced green onions or fresh parsley. A lemon wedge on the side is also a nice touch.

Best Rice For Risotto

Arborio rice is going to be the easiest rice to find and use for risotto. Do not rinse the rice before you cook it as it has starches on it that are essential to the cooking process to make risotto creamy! 

If you don't have arborio rice, you can use another short grain rice (or medium grain rice) in a pinch.

However, avoid jasmine or basmati rice because they are not going to have enough starch to make risotto creamy. 

How To Cook Risotto

Cooking risotto always seems tricky the first time. I know, I know. There are a lot of steps!

But I promise you that you can do it! If you get discouraged after trying it once, I encourage you to try again.

  1. In a medium saucepan, pour in broth and set to low heat. 
  2. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil to a sauce pan over medium heat, sauté garlic until fragrant, about a minute. 
  3. Add arborio rice to pan and stir with wooden spoon until the edges are translucent, another 2 minutes. 
  4. Pour in wine and let the wine absorb almost fully, about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. 
  5. Use a ladle to pour about ½ cup of broth into the risotto. Allow risotto to almost fully absorb broth before adding another ladle. Stir risotto occasionally, between ladling in broth.
  6. When there is about a ½ cup of broth left to add to the risotto, take a spoonful to test. Risotto typically is served "al dente" but you can cook it to your personal preference. When resting, the risotto will continue to cook so be sure to not overcook it during this process.
  7. If needed, add the rest of the broth or more to cook to the right consistency for your preference.

Meanwhile, cook the veggies and shrimp. When the risotto is done, spoon it into bowls and top it with the shrimp and veggies. You can also stir them together.

How to Cook Shrimp for Risotto

In the summer, I will probably use my grilled shrimp skewers (soaked in this amazing shrimp marinade) for this risotto, but cooking shrimp on the stove is super easy.

You can start cooking the shrimp while the risotto cooks. Here's what to do:

onion and spinach in a pan

First melt half the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then sauté the onions until they are translucent.

Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove onion and spinach from pan and set aside. We'll add them back shortly.

cooked shrimp in. pan

Melt the remaining butter, then cook the shrimp for about 5 minutes, flipping half way through. Good and juicy shrimp will be nice and pink when cooked!

Always check the temperature!
Use an instant-read meat thermometer to verify the shrimp is cooked all the way. The thermometer should read 120°F (49°C) when the shrimp is done.

shrimp, spinach and risotto cooking in a pan

Add the spinach and onion back to the pan and stir together with the shrimp.

bowls of shrimp risotto on a dinner table

Remove from heat. Spoon risotto into bowls and top with shrimp and veggies.

Got leftovers? Here's how to reheat risotto perfectly every time.

Tips & Tricks

Risotto is actually so easy to make. In order to make it right every time, remember these three things: 

  1. Don't rush. Risotto does take time and it's a process you really don't want to rush. So be prepared to make this recipe on an evening when you have time.
  2. Nail the basics first, then go crazy. Getting the base of this recipe is really the key here. Once you have this basic risotto down, the toppings have infinite possibilities.
  3. The stock temperature matters. Always use warm stock. Any kind will work!

More Risotto Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

bowls of shrimp risotto on a dinner table

Shrimp Risotto

This Shrimp Risotto will transport you to the shores of Italy! This is a great recipe for small dinner parties and date night at home.
5 from 47 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Madison | A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

Ingredients

For the risotto

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 32 oz chicken broth beef broth or vegetable broth

For The Shrimp

  • ½ onion diced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 ½ pounds shrimp deveined, tails can be left on
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional

Instructions

Make the risotto.

  • In a small saucepan, pour in broth and set to low heat. 
  • Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a saucepan on medium heat, sauté garlic until fragrant, about a minute. 
  • Add arborio rice to pan and stir with wooden spoon until the edges are translucent another 2 minutes. 
  • Pour in wine and let the wine absorb almost fully, about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. 
  • Use a ladle to pour about ½ cup of broth into the risotto. Allow risotto to almost fully absorb broth before adding another ladle. Stir risotto occasionally, between ladling in broth.
  • When there is about a ½ cup of broth left to add to the risotto, take a spoonful to test. Risotto typically is served "al dente" but you can cook it to your personal preference. When resting, the risotto will continue to cook so be sure to not overcook it during this process.
  • If needed, add the rest of the broth or more to cook to the right consistency for your preference. Serve immediately.

Make the shrimp.

  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, then sauté onions until translucent.
  • Add spinach and cook until wilted. Remove onion and spinach from pan. Set aside.
  • Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, then cook shrimp for 5 minutes, flipping half way through. Shrimp will be nice and pink when cooked to an internal temperature of 120°F.
  • Add the spinach and onion back to the pan and stir together with the shrimp. Remove from heat.
  • Spoon risotto into bowls and top with shrimp and veggies.

Notes

Always use at least lukewarm stock — never cold.
Instead of using wine, squeeze in lemon juice at some point during the cooking process or at the very end for a punch of lemon flavor.
To reheat risotto, microwave individual portions or add a splash of cooking broth and bake until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 263mg | Sodium: 2231mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g

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10 Comments

  1. Everyone thought this was so fancy but it whipped up so easily! Best kind of dish haha loved the red pepper flake flavor on the shrimp too!

  2. I usually make mushroom risotto but had some shrimp I wanted to use. Google led me here! We loved it and will be making it again.

    1. So glad you tried it out, Liz! Risotto can be intimidating but it is more simple than most people think.

  3. Sooo good. Made it with vegetable broth because we were hosting someone who doesn't eat meat. Loved EVERY bite! Will definitely make again.