A shot of spice: Tequila-lime Shrimp with Spicy Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

I got a phone call the other day from my old college roommate, Hannah. She’s been living in Grozny and Sierra Leone since 2004, but she’s working in New York for a few months. She was checking out apartments from Brooklyn to the Upper East side, looking for a room to sublet during her time in the city.

“I’m in your neighborhood, I think,” she said, and we made plans to meet up after she saw the room. She called back two minutes later. “Um, when I said in your neighborhood, I meant in your building,” she said. “Your name is on the mailbox downstairs.” Sure enough, the room that she’d found randomly on craigslist was just two floors down from me! So for two months, we will pretend to be roommates again, and catch up after being many, many miles apart since graduation.

This meal, which we made with another college friend/former roommate (the lovely Jackie), was perfect for collaborative cooking. (I can take no credit for the recipe selection—Jackie chose these, and they were winners.)

The three of us took turns stirring while we drank some wine—none of the labor was too taxing. At the last minute, when the risotto has softened adequately, the shrimp cook up quick in a pan (or a grill, if you have it.)

Studded with corn and peppers and spiked with spice, this dish is not your mama’s risotto. It has a real kick to it, balanced by the sweetness of red peppers and shrimp. Keep a glass of water (or a beer) handy.

Spicy Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Risotto
Adapted from Cooking Light

Yield: 4 servings

1 3/4 cups water
3 1/2 cups low-salt vegetable or chicken broth or stock
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup uncooked Arborio or other short-grain rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 jalapeno, chopped, seeds removed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn
3/4 cup chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers, removed from liquid

Combine water and broth in a medium pot and bring to a low simmer. Keep warm over low heat.

In a large saucepan, heat oil. Add rice, cumin, coriander, garlic, and jalapeno, sauté for one to two minutes until rice is slightly translucent. Stir in 1/2 cup of the broth mixture, cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Gradually add remaining broth, half a cup at a time, waiting and stirring until broth is absorbed before adding more. Cook about 20 minutes total—it’s possible you may not need all of the liquid. Taste rice, it should be tender. Stir in scallions, cheese, hot sauce, corn (still forzen!) and roasted peppers. Cook and stir 3 minutes, until heated through. Top with Tequila-lime shrimp.

Tequila-Lime Shrimp
adapted from Health

2 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon bottled hot sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails on (about 1 1/4 pounds)
lime wedges for serving

After your risotto (see recipe above) has been cooking awhile, combine tequila, lime juice, olive oil, hot sauce, and garlic in a large tupperware container. Add shrimp, toss to coat, let stand ten minutes while you cook the risotto. Heat a large cast iron pan, grease with a small amount of olive oil. Add shrimp (cook in several batches if necessary.) Cook a few minutes per side until just opaque. Serve on top of risotto with lime wedges.

In risotto, seafood, shrimp, spicy

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