Kale Risotto w/ Burrata and Lemon-Thyme Shrimp

I love a good risotto.  Yes, it is a laborious task to stand over a pot and stir, and stir until you turn those opaque rice grains into a creamy consistency.  I completely understand as we live in a society where everything is quick.  Our lives are busy…. late hours at work, running our children to their activities and homework (raises hand), night classes, and so on.  It never ends.  But, there are moments when you must slow down, give back to yourself and enjoy quiet moments alone.  This dish demands that of me.

I’m always looking for new risotto recipes to test, especially ones that are packed with nutrient dense vegetables.  I chose kale as I had a couple of bunches too many in my refrigerator.  Admittedly, I don’t always take an inventory of my refrigerator when I venture out food shopping, and I wind up over run with more vegetables than I can humanly consume in a week.  So, I decided to make Kale pesto to eat throughout the week and to use as a base for this risotto.

A simple risotto is easy to make requiring six ingredients: onions, garlic, arborio or carnaroli rice, wine, hot stock (chicken, vegetable, or beef), and pecorino and/or parmesan cheese.  The first step you will need to do is sauté your onions and garlic until soft and translucent.  Next add your rice, give it a stir and then add your wine.  Stir until the wine is absorbed.  Now, you’re ready to start adding your hot stock.  This will take about 25-30 minutes so make sure you’ve poured yourself a glass of wine that you added to the pot and put on your favorite music.  This was mine. Now start stirring.  You’re going to add broth to cover the rice, stirring constantly until almost evaporated. You will do this until the rice is creamy yet al dente (firm to the bite).  Add the pecorino and/or parmesan cheese, kale pesto, and salt and pepper.  Stir to incorporate.

I added burrata on top for extra creaminess.  Burrata is well…. good!  It is a cheese made from mozzarella, formed into a pouch and filled with a soft, string curd and fresh cream.  The last piece was the shrimp that I lightly sautéed in olive oil with garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and fresh thyme.  The result was amazing.  Well worth the time and effort.  It also tastes great the next day as leftovers.  Enjoy!

KALE RISOTTO W/ BURRATA AND LEMON-THYME SHRIMP//serves 4

risotto
1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cup arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock, beef stock)
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

 kale pesto
2 cups torn kale, stems removed
½ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup parmesan cheese
Juice of one lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

lemon-thyme shrimp
1 lb. large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
½ cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tsp fresh or dried thyme leaves

To prepare kale pesto, add in the first 4 ingredients in a food processor and blend until coarsely chopped.  Next, slowly add the olive oil until fully incorporated and kale pesto is smooth.

For the risotto, bring broth to a simmer over medium high heat.  In a medium saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent.  Add rice and stir to coat about 5 minutes.  Add wine and stir until absorbed.  Next, add broth one ladle at a time stirring frequently.  The risotto is complete when you have used all of the broth and the rice is creamy and al dente.  Add parmesan cheese, kale pesto, and salt and pepper to taste.  Place risotto in a bowl or plate.

To prepare lemon-thyme shrimp, sauté garlic in olive oil until fragrant.  Next, add lemon zest, lemon juice and shrimp.  Stir to combine.  Sauté shrimp until cooked through.  Add thyme leaves.  Stir to combine. 

To assemble, top the risotto with the burrata, shrimp, and garnish with additional thyme leaves.