If you are looking for a simple dish, that both tastes and looks beautiful, this recipe for Shrimp and Asparagus Saffron Risotto will not disappoint!
Introducing my very favorite risotto. It’s a vibrant, delicious dish that’s packed full of flavor. I love the combination of saffron, lemon, and asparagus. The addition of sweet, plump shrimp makes it perfection on a plate.
This is a great Springtime recipe, but I make it all year round.
This luscious recipe is versatile too! You can replace the shrimp with crab, scallops or even chicken.
You can also change up the asparagus for broccoli, peas or spinach.
The best part of this dish is it doesn’t require you to stir the entire time you are cooking. When I make it that way, it only comes out well half the time.
I found a way to make risotto by adding the stock all at once, covering it and letting it cook on a low heat until absorbed. When I make it that way, it comes out perfect every time.
Here’s how you make it:
Bring stock to a simmer, add the saffron and leave to infuse.
Blanch the asparagus in a pan of boiling water until just tender and refresh under cold water. In a separate pan, saute the onions, and celery in 2 tablespoons of butter together until they are cooked and soft but not browned.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rice in one go and stir it around with the other ingredients to toast the grains thoroughly without browning.
Raise the heat to high and add the wine. Reduce the wine until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed into the rice.
Stir in the stock.
Reduce the heat, stir and leave to cook covered 15-18 until the rice is just undercooked and add the shrimp and parsley.
Cook until pink (about 3 minutes). Add in the asparagus and lemon juice. Mix together, taking care not to destroy the asparagus spears or the Shrimp.
Serve and enjoy.
When I moved from England, back home to NJ, I was shocked to see that saffron isn’t always easy to find. I get my mine at mazaeus.com. It’s good quality and comes in a good-sized tin.
Tips for Thawing and Cooking with Frozen Raw Shrimp:
- Thaw them in a colander letting the water drip through as it thaws.
- Once thawed, place them on paper towels to soak up any excess water and then season with salt and pepper.
Tips for preparing asparagus:
- To remove the woody ends, gently bend the end of each asparagus spear until it snaps naturally.
- When blanching, be sure to choose a pot or pan that’s big enough to fit the whole length of the asparagus.
- Blanch the asparagus until they turn bright green. This is an easy way to tell when they are ready to remove from the pan.
More Great Seafood
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Let's Make Shrimp Risotto
- 4 cups Chicken Stock plus more as needed
- 1 pinch Saffron Threads
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 small shallots peeled and finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 cups risotto rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest grated
- 7 ounces raw peeled shrimp
- 20 asparagus trimmed and cut into bite sized peices
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan; add the saffron and leave to infuse.
- Blanch the asparagus in a pan of boiling water until just tender. With a slotted spoon add to an ice water bath to cool, drain and set aside.
- In a separate shallow pan, saute the shallots, and celery in 2 tablespoons of butter until they are cooked and soft but not browned.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add all the rice, stir it around into the other ingredients and slightly toast the grains without browning.
- Raise the heat to high, add the wine and reduce it until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed into the rice.
- Stir in the stock and lemon zest, reduce the heat, stir and leave to cook covered 15-18 until the rice is just undercooked (Checking after about 15 minutes to make sure no additional stock is needed. If the risotto looks dry, add some of the remaining stock).
- Add the shrimp, and cook until pink (about 3 minutes).
- Mix in the cooked asparagus, lemon juice, and chopped parsley.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix in the remaining butter and taste for seasoning. Add salt as needed before serving.
Tips + Notes
- Cooking times may vary from different brands of rice so check your package instructions and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- To use pre-cooked frozen shrimp, be sure to defrost and them first and add them at the end with the asparagus.
- To remove the woody ends of asparagus, gently bend the end of each asparagus spear until it snaps naturally.
- Blanch the asparagus just until they turn bright green. This is an easy way to tell when they are ready to remove from the pan.
- Not a fan of asparagus? Use broccoli, peas, or spinach in its place.
- Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best possible flavor. Bottled lemon juice often tastes bitter.
- Don’t have wine? Dry vermouth is a great substitute. I keep it on hand and often use it in recipes that call for white. It will keep in your fridge and it’s typically more affordable than white wine.
- Love cheese in your risotto? Add ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese at the end.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in January of 2014, but was republished with an updated recipe, new photos, step by step instructions and baking tips in April of 2018.