One of Pierluigi’s signature dishes is the risotto alla crema di scampi – an indulgently creamy risotto with a combination of shrimp and scampi. The recipe may take some time, but the end result is well worth it.
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 good sized scampi
10 small shrimp
1/2 liter of cream
1 packet saffron
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 small yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
vegetable broth – 2 carrots, 3 celery stalks and 1 onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
400 g arborio or carnaroli rice
1. Start by making a simple vegetable broth with roughly chopped carrots, celery and onion. Peel the shrimp and add the shells to the broth as well.
2. In a small bowl combine the onion, peeled shrimp and some olive oil and blend with a hand blender (or in a mini-cuisinart).
3. Saute this mixture over medium heat in a medium-sized pot until the shrimp is cooked, 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and leave to simmer for 5 minutes. After those 5 minutes are up add the cream.
4. Finely dice the shallot and slowly sauté it in another medium-sized pot. Once it softens add the rice and toast it, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Listen to the pot closely and once you hear the rice start to crackle it’s ready to go.
5. Add the white wine to the rice and stir well. Cook for 1 minute until the alcohol evaporates. At this point begin adding your shrimp shell and vegetable broth to the rice a few ladles at a time.
6. In a small sauce pan heat some olive oil and sauté the two garlic cloves. Once they just begin to brown add the 4 scampi. After 1 minute take the pan off the flame and add a healthy splash of brandy. Put it back on the flame and let it evaporate for a few seconds and then tilt the pan toward the flame to light the brandy on fire.
7. Once the scampi are cooked through add them to the pot with the cream sauce. At this point turn the heat up and bring the cream just to a boil. Once it boils turn the burner to low, add the saffron, and let it simmer while you finish the risotto.
8. When the rice is about 3/4 cooked, about 12-14 minutes depending on what rice you’re using, add the cream sauce to it, saving the whole scampi off to the side.
9. Finish cooking the risotto and plate immediately with the scampo in the middle of the plate and garnish with a little pinch of parsley on top.