Langoustine Risotto

Remember I found Langoustines at Trader Joe's and used them in a made-up fish chowder?  They're like my new besties, I always grab a couple bags when I'm in the store because they make such a nice alternative to shrimp. Tonight I wanted to make risotto, which I always associated with shrimp and peas, but I had neither shrimp, nor peas.  I had langoustines and asparagus.  And I had the Oracle - which is how my friend Bridget refers to the Internet, and I agree.  Seriously, what excuse is there anymore for not knowing anything?

...I'm going to have another glass of wine before I answer that question.

The original recipe comes from the UK's Sunday Times, byline Sue Lawrence, and is for Langoustine and Pea risotto.  I adapted not only the ingredients but I converted the measurements which naturally were all metric.  Actually I was really obnoxious and turned it into a torture session math lesson for Panda Girl.  She's not speaking to me right now but someday she'll thank me!!

 Converted Langoustine and Asparagus Risotto

  • 900ml chicken stock (900 ml is 3.80407755 cups, how much is that rounded up, Panda?  4 cups, very good, that's one 16-oz box of chicken broth.  You know if you keep rolling your eyes like that they're going to freeze at the back of your head.)
  • 50g butter (50 grams is 1.7636981 ounces but I'm sorry, I don't weigh butter, let's call it 3 tablespoons.  Some math problems don't adapt to real life.  Move on.)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped (Freebie!)
  • 300g risotto rice (300 grams is...I don't care what it is because my 16-oz box of Sclafani risotto is 455 grams and I'm using it.)
  • 100ml dry white wine (Panda has left the room.  It's 1/2 cup)
  • 12 oz frozen langoustines, thawed (that's 340 grams, people!)
  • 150g peas (or 1 bunch asparagus, in 1/4" slices)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon (I didn't have one, I wished I had)
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan (we're not even trying anymore)
  • 3 or 4 large basil leaves, shredded (It was pouring rain and I didn't feel like going out to the garden for basil so I used chopped parsley which grows in a pot close to the house
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan, and keep simmering.  Be momentarily mesmerized by the fractal patterns of bubbles on the surface. Mmmm.  Pretty.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and a splash of olive oil in a large pan (I used Madame Le Creuset), and cook the onion until soft.  Add the rice, stir until coated in the fat and making a slightly crackling sound, then add the wine, and cook until evaporated.  Add the hot stock ladle by ladle.  Stir and add another ladle only once each bit has been absorbed.   You can step away from the stove for a minute but not much longer.  Risotto, unfortunately, needs a bit of babysitting.

With the very last of the chicken broth, add the asparagus to the rice.  Stir until last of broth is absorbed and asparagus is tender.  Remove from heat, add langoustines, Parmesan, lemon zest, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and the parsley.  Stir to combine.  Cover and leave for five minutes.  Set the table or nag someone else to do it.  Taste and if desired, season with salt and pepper.