Saturday, September 1, 2012

Shrimp Risotto a la Sushi

To download a copy of the recipe for Shrimp Risotto a la Sushi, click HERE.

In spite of how it might sometimes appear, I don’t set out to make recipes that are a little bit strange. Sometimes they just happen. This week’s recipe is not only a unique way to serve risotto; it’s a whole new way of looking at it.

The basic idea is this: prepare your risotto as you normally would, along with some shrimp and asparagus. Only this time, roll the risotto around the shrimp and asparagus in the style of sushi. (Risotto’s starchy texture makes it a natural for doing this.) To add to the effect, use steamed spinach to replace the nori (seaweed) often used to wrap sushi; and use pesto and marinated carrot ribbons to replace the wasabi sauce and pickled ginger that are normally on a sushi plate. (Depending on your sense of theatrics, you may want to plate it in a sushi-type container and provide chopsticks as in the photo at the top.) It’s a great way to change up your risotto and keep it so interesting for your family that you might even find yourselves talking to each other at the dinner table!

Some Cook’s Notes before we begin.
  • As you’ll see in the recipe, you don’t need a bamboo sushi mat to make the risotto sushi. Parchment lightly sprayed with cooking spray will serve our purpose.
  • Rolling the sushi is not difficult, but it helps to watch any of the many good tutorial videos available on You Tube.
  • While it’s possible to cook and serve the carrot ribbons without marinating them, I wanted to represent the cleansing acidity of the pickled ginger normally served with sushi. For this reason, the marinade itself has a little extra vinegar when compared to typical vegetable marinades.

This recipe makes four meal-size servings.

Let’s start by making the risotto:

Warm 4 cups of fish stock or vegetable stock in a saucepan over low heat.

Put 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a sauté pan and sauté the 1 green or red bell pepper and 1 small onion, both finely chopped. When they are cooked through, and 4 minced garlic cloves and cook until aromatic, about another 30 seconds to a minute.

Add 1 cup of Arborio rice and 2 Tbsp of chopped, fresh oregano, and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add ¾ cup of dry white wine (Chardonnay or similar) to the sauté pan and cook until the liquid is absorbed.

Add the stock, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and waiting till the liquid is absorbed before adding more. (Constant stirring helps release the starches in the rice. This gives the risotto its signature creamy texture and is an important part of the risotto method.)

When all the broth is absorbed, remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in ½ cup of shredded or grated parmesan till the cheese is completely incorporated, and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Next, we’ll make the marinated carrot ribbons:

Wash and trim 3 or 4 large carrots, and cut them in half length-wise. Using a wide peeler on the flat side of the cut carrots, slice each carrot into ribbons. Cut the long ribbons in half so that all the pieces are 3" - 4" long.

To make the marinade, combine 1/3 cup of white wine vinegar; 1 minced garlic clove; ¼ cup chopped fresh basil; and 2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano in a small bowl. Drizzle in ¾ cup of olive oil while whisking rigorously till the marinade has a smooth consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place the carrot ribbons in a sealable plastic storage bag, and add the marinade. Let the carrots marinate while you continue with the rest of the recipe.

While the carrots are marinating:

If using the spinach, place one pound in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Steam the spinach till cooked through. (This should only take a few minutes.) Drain well and set aside.

Place ½ pound of fresh asparagus in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Cook the asparagus until cooked but firm. Set aside.

Place one pound of peeled, uncooked shrimp in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp through, using skewers soaked in water to make turning them over easier. Be careful not to overcook them. When done, set the shrimp aside.

Use the same pan to cook the marinated carrots to desired doneness.

To assemble the risotto “sushi”:

Place half of the risotto on a sheet of parchment, lightly sprayed with cooking spray.Place another sheet of lightly sprayed parchment on top of the risotto and roll it out to a rectangle about 7” x 9”.

If necessary to get a good rectangle, cut away some of the rolled risotto and locate it where needed to make the rectangle.

If using the spinach, spread half of the spinach evenly over the top of the risotto.

If using the spinach, put the sprayed parchment back on top and turn the assembly over together as a unit, so that the spinach is now on the bottom surface of the risotto rectangle. Remove the top parchment sheet.

Place half the asparagus and half the shrimp along the middle of the rectangle.

Lifting the parchment sheet, carefully roll the risotto sheet around the shrimp and asparagus filling.

Press down to seal the risotto.

Carefully remove the parchment sheet. Slice the rolled risotto into 1-1/2” pieces.

Repeat the above steps with the other half of the risotto, asparagus, shrimp, and optional spinach.

If desired, place the risotto “sushi” pieces on a baking sheet and warm in a 350 degree oven. (In the photo, you'll see I made half of mine with the spinach wrap, and half without.)

To serve, place three of the pieces on a dish with ¼ of the carrots and 2 Tbsp pesto.

To download a copy of the recipe for Shrimp Risotto a la Sushi, click HERE.

Now that’s food that’s fun and delicious!

Hope you’ll come back next week for another great tasting recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. This sounds quite delicious. I think it would be appetizing even in the winter with the earthiness of the spinach.

    1. Thanks, Sandy. Spinach is my favorite vegetable, and definitely works better here than seaweed. This is definitely a year-round meal. Though I am still hoping to discover a lower-fat risotto one of these days.

  2. Sushi even I would like...wait, no...I would LOVE. Your creativity astounds me, Ben! :)

    1. Thank you, Linda. :-) Making one food look like another is always a lot of fun to do.(You might remember the strawberry-rhubarb "ravioli" pastry from a while back.) I have found there are risks in doing this, though; one stodgy fellow I heard from on FB seemed to think this was really supposed to be sushi and was quite offended that I used risotto. lol.

  3. Replies
    1. No problem at all, Grim. There is nothing I know of in this world that is right for everyone. (Well, nothing food related, anyway.) Thanks for visiting, and I hope we will see you again!