Shrimp Scampi Risotto with white wine and Parmesan has a big shrimp flavor and plenty of mild, sweet garlic. This is a company-worthy and quick dish that will impress your guests and will also make your family feel extra special any day of the week!
Don't be afraid of risotto. It's simple to make if you follow a few basic rules, and I'm here to walk you through the straightforward steps. I hope you're hungry because dinner will be on the table before you know it!
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- The ingredient list:
- Ingredient information:
- Kitchen tools and equipment needed:
- How to properly peel and devein shrimp:
- Add-in or substitution suggestions:
- What is the best rice for making risotto:
- Renee's top tips and tricks for recipe success:
- What size shrimp is best for this recipe?
- How to know when shrimp is fully cooked?
- Tails on or tails off? That is the question...
- How to store uncooked shrimp before cooking:
- Can this risotto be made in advance?
- Does risotto make good leftovers?
- How to get the most shrimp flavor into your cooking liquid?
- Make it a complete meal:
- Additional shrimp recipes from my kitchen to yours:
- Printable Recipe Card
The ingredient list:
*Please note that the exact measurements along with a new "shop the recipe" feature from Instacart is available in the printable recipe card.
ARBORIO RICE - There are several types of starchy rice that work best for risotto. I chose Arborio because it is widely available. Arborio is a medium-grain starchy rice that produces a creamy consistency when cooked with attention, stirred continually with a hot liquid or broth, and not overcooked.
CHICKEN STOCK OR BROTH - I used low-sodium chicken stock for a richer and heartier flavor, but chicken broth is also completely acceptable. Store-bought or homemade; either will work.
WHITE WINE - A dry white wine like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc works best in this recipe. Steer clear of sweet white wines (like a Pino Grigio or a Riesling) for this particular dish because it will send the flavor profile of this savory seafood risotto entirely out of whack.
UNCOOKED SHRIMP - I used a two-pound bag of 21-26 frozen raw shrimp that were already deveined but still had their shells intact. Feel free to use whatever size shrimp you want (with or without the shells) and make sure they're deveined previously, or you can do it yourself (see the video below) and that the shrimp are uncooked.
ONION - I like the onion in this dish to be finely minced so it disappears into the risotto without big chunks. I used a sweet onion, but a yellow or white onion will also work.
GARLIC - Scampi is known for its bold garlic flavor, which is why I used a lot (¼ cup of minced garlic, to be exact) in this recipe. Feel free to adjust the garlic to your liking if you'd like to cut back on the amount called for (or even ramp it up a bit more).
OLIVE OIL - Olive oil and melted butter are used to lightly sauté and coat each grain of rice in the skillet before adding any hot cooking liquid. This sautéing of the rice gives one more layer of flavor to the finished risotto you don't want to miss out on. Any olive oil can be used.
BUTTER - I always use salted butter, but unsalted will also work in this recipe.
RED PEPPER FLAKES - I like to add just a tiny touch of heat to my shrimp scampi risotto, but not enough to make my eyes water. If you like things really spicy, feel free to add more red pepper flakes than called for in the recipe. If you prefer not to use the red pepper flakes at all, that's fine, too.
OLD BAY SEAFOOD SEASONING - This is the ingredient that really pumps up the seafood essence and flavor. A little Old Bay seasoning brings that long-cooked New England seafood flavor to a dish ready in less than 30 minutes.
SALT AND PEPPER - Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper are always my recommendations for cooking and baking. *Note - Table salt measures differently than coarse kosher salt (because the grains are smaller); therefore, if you use table salt instead of kosher salt, please cut back on the amount called for in this recipe.
FROZEN PEAS - This is an optional ingredient but one that brings color and added visual interest to the completed dish.
PARMESAN CHEESE - Freshly shredded or grated Parmesan cheese is always the best choice for the best flavor. Since Parmesan cheese is a salty element in the final dish, you'll notice that the actual salt called for in this recipe is limited.
Kitchen tools and equipment needed:
LARGE SKILLET - I used a large, high-sided skillet so all the stirring would keep the rice and stock inside the skillet and not all over the stovetop. Use the largest skillet you have.
3-QUART SAUCEPAN - For conveniently heating the stock (or broth) on the stovetop next to the risotto skillet for easy access ladling.
CHEF'S KNIFE - Used for finely mincing the onion and garlic (if not using a garlic press).
CUTTING BOARD - For mincing the onion and garlic.
FINE MESH STRAINER - I used the fine mesh strainer to clean and rinse the shrimp before and after peeling and deveining. I also used it to strain the chicken stock after I'd added in some shrimp peels for additional flavor.
MEASURING CUPS AND SPOONS
A LADLE - This is a vital kitchen tool for ladling hot broth or stock into the risotto. Two full ladle scoops at a time are sufficient each time liquid is added to the risotto, and then it's time to stir, stir, stir.
GARLIC PRESS - (optional) Using a garlic press can make life a lot easier when dealing with many fresh garlic cloves. Your hands will stay cleaner, and the aroma of fresh garlic won't linger on your fingers.
WOODEN SPOON OR SPATULA - A lot of stirring will occur, so a wooden spoon or silicone spatula will gently treat a non-stick skillet without damaging scratches.
SHRIMP SCISSORS - (optional) Curved ever so slightly, like the back of a shrimp itself, shrimp scissors (also known as seafood scissors) are a handy gadget that helps cleanly and efficiently cut through and remove the peel (and vein where applicable) from shrimp, prawns, lobster, and crab.
How to properly peel and devein shrimp:
Add-in or substitution suggestions:
The completed dish has a touch of heat thanks to red pepper flakes, but you can tailor that to your liking or leave it out entirely.
Baby leaf spinach would make a delicious and colorful addition to this risotto. Add fresh spinach leaves into the skillet (as much or as little as you like) at the same time as the uncooked shrimp. Continue the cooking process as stated in the recipe.
Substitute shallots (minced) for some (or all) of the minced garlic if preferred. The flavor will be similar but won't have the garlic-forward influence.
If you prefer not to use the wine, that's ok. Just make sure to add additional chicken broth or stock as a replacement for the wine and add one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to the risotto cooking liquid. The lemon will add the acidic flavor needed to balance and round out the flavors.
Blanched broccoli or broccolini would make a lovely addition to this delicious shrimp scampi risotto. Add additional blanched vegetables at the end of cooking and when the shrimp has been added to warm through.
*Note - additional salt and pepper should be added to the risotto if more vegetables are added. Always taste and adjust your seasonings (if needed) before serving.
What is the best rice for making risotto:
There are several types, actually, but some are easier and more mainstream to find than others, depending on where you live or shop.
Arborio Rice is readily available almost everywhere in the country and makes a darn good risotto. It's not as creamy as other starchy rice (more about that below), but still creamy and tasty.
Carnaroli is known to be the prize-winning rice for making risotto as it holds its shape, it's forgiving to cook (meaning achieving an Al Dante consistency is not difficult), and it has the creamiest cooked risotto consistency of all the medium-grain starchy rice available.
Vialone Nano is said to be another excellent rice for risotto. It is explicitly grown without chemicals, is quicker to cook than Carnaroli, and yields a very creamy risotto consistency. It is, however, a bit on the pricy side.
Renee's top tips and tricks for recipe success:
The key to making creamy risotto is to add hot liquid (broth or stock) to the rice in increments. After each addition of the hot liquid, it's important to stir, stir, stir the rice continually so the starch releases from the rice to form a creamy consistency.
Even though it may be tempting to rinse the uncooked grains of rice before starting to cook, DO NOT DO IT. Rinsing the rice will wash away the starch that is so important for making a creamy risotto. Resist the urge to rinse and carry on.
What size shrimp is best for this recipe?
I used a bag of 21-26 shrimp. Meaning there are 21-26 shrimp per pound.
You can choose to use whatever size shrimp you want, or that happens to be on sale.
Just remember to add them in with the last bit of cooking liquid so the shrimp (no matter what size you're using) won't overcook and become tough and rubbery.
How to know when shrimp is fully cooked?
Once shrimp are opaque white with coral/pink coloring, they're ready to eat and should be removed from the heat.
Tails on or tails off? That is the question...
I'm firmly in the camp of tails-off. Especially when shrimp are part of a main course. I remove the tails (and shells) before cooking.
Of course, that's a personal preference, so if you prefer serving a shrimp entree with the tails on, by all means, do so.
How to store uncooked shrimp before cooking:
If previously frozen, thaw the shrimp under cool running water in a colander or fine mesh sieve until completely thawed.
Or you can thaw the shrimp in their bag in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure to place the frozen bag of shrimp in a bowl in the fridge in case the bag has any small leaks.
Keep the thawed shrimp chilled in an airtight bag (or covered bowl) until ready to use.
Do not keep or use thawed uncooked shrimp that have been in the refrigerator for longer than 2-3 days.
Can this risotto be made in advance?
I do not recommend it.
Since the entire point of risotto is to be creamy, any length of sitting (either refrigerated or at room temperature) will cause the risotto to thicken and lose its creamy consistency.
Trying to revive risotto after that happens is challenging and not worthwhile. Make it and serve it fresh. You'll be glad you did.
Does risotto make good leftovers?
The flavor will hold up, but the creamy consistency won't.
Risotto is perfectly fine to eat as a leftover, but I wouldn't consider risotto a leftover success story.
How to get the most shrimp flavor into your cooking liquid?
Instead of discarding all the shrimp shells after peeling them, I added some (roughly ten shells) into the saucepan with the stock to infuse the risotto cooking liquid with additional shrimp flavor.
I strained and discarded the shells from the stock before adding the infused shrimp stock to the skillet with the rice.
Make it a complete meal:
Roasted Garlic Cheese Bread with rosemary and smoked mozzarella works equally well as a delicious appetizer, a side dish for a BBQ or family meal, or even a meatless entrée. It's utterly delicious, no matter how you plan to serve it!
Fennel and Onion Gratin is a deliciously cheesy side dish that is wonderfully flavorful and simple. It's the perfect accompaniment to any main course, or it can become the main course all on its own.
These light Lemon Ricotta Cookies with almonds are almost like biting into a cloud. A lemony cloud. After only one bite, you'll think you've gone to heaven.
Additional shrimp recipes from my kitchen to yours:
When dinner needs to be quick and delicious with a minimum amount of cleanup, this Sheet Pan Lemon Ginger Shrimp with veggies and potatoes comes to the rescue and will please the entire family in less than 30 minutes!
Dilled Cucumber Salad with Shrimp is the perfect all-around summer dish. It's cool and creamy with plenty of fresh cucumbers, sugar snap peas, shrimp, dill, and potatoes.
Orzo and Shrimp Stuffed Avocados is an elegant dish that can be served as a light lunch or dinner option.
This dish is my Midwestern take on a Clam and Shrimp Chowder. I devised this recipe for my husband, who loves New England clam chowder. He loves this version, too.
When you make this recipe (and I hope that you will), I'd appreciate it if you'd take the time to come back and give it a star rating along with a comment on why you rated as you did. Google appreciates ratings on recipes and, in turn, will show my recipes to more people. Thank you!!
Printable Recipe Card
Shrimp Scampi Risotto with White Wine and Parmesan
- 2 cups Arborio Rice or other medium-grain starchy rice
- 5 cups chicken stock Low-sodium
- 1 cup dry white wine Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon Old Bay seafood seasoning
- 2 pounds 21-26 shrimp thawed (if previously frozen), deveined, and peeled. Tail removed, if desired.
- ½ cup finely minced onion
- ¼ cup minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup frozen peas
For the shrimp:
- Prepare the uncooked shrimp by deveining, peeling, and removing the tails if desired. Keep cold until ready to cook.
To make the cooking liquid:
- Add the chicken stock, wine, shrimp peels (if using), seafood seasoning, and red pepper flakes to the saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid (if using the shrimp shells and discard the shells). Return the stock to the saucepan and continue to simmer to keep hot.
- Melt the butter and olive oil in the large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the Arborio rice and stir well to coat the rice with the butter and oil. Sauté the rice in the butter and oil for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the minced onion and garlic to the skillet and stir to combine. Continue sautéing the rice, onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the hot stock to the arborio rice (2 ladles at a time) and stir continually until the liquid has been soaked up by the rice (this will take 1-2 minutes per batch of liquid). Continue the same process of adding the hot liquid to the rice and stirring continuously.
- Add the prepared shrimp and frozen peas to the skillet along with the last batch of simmering liquid, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir the last additions thoroughly so the shrimp cook through (you can tell they're cooked when the shrimp are creamy white in color with bright pink/coral accents), and the peas are no longer frozen. The risotto should be creamy and slightly Al Dante. This takes approximately 22-23 minutes from start to finish.
- Right before serving sprinkle the risotto with the Parmesan cheese and spoon the risotto into individual bowls or one large family-size serving bowl. Top the final dish with additional Parmesan cheese and serve hot.
I sincerely hope you've enjoyed today's easy shrimp scampi risotto recipe as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you.
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