Lemon risotto recipe with grilled shrimp on top. A small batch of risotto for two made from scratch with lemon zest and lemon juice for a big punch of flavor! The perfect topping is a skewer of grilled shrimp–made in just 45 minutes!

Shrimp on a skewer over risotto with lemon wedges.

My love for a big bowl of creamy risotto is huge. As someone who was a vegetarian for many years and someone who is married to a vegan, risotto saves the day in a lot of ways. It’s creamy, hearty, and absolutely perfect for a customizable topping that suits almost any dietary preference.

If you’re wondering about how I adapt this for my vegan husband, I serve his lemon risotto with grilled vegetables, and I use vegan butter and vegetable broth. I love to riff on my instant pot risotto recipe and make the same substitutions for him, and omit the Parmesan in favor of extra salt.

I needed a way to use the leftover shrimp from my shrimp fried rice recipe, and I thought of risotto! I used both lemon juice and lemon  and top it with shrimp. The flavor combination of a grilled shrimp skewer plus tangy lemon is so refreshing!

Shrimp is the ideal protein, because you can keep in the freezer until right before you need it. Plus, it comes in bags that allow for you to take out exactly how many you need while saving the rest. I also use frozen shrimp for my garlic butter shrimp, which seems so impressive, but is really the simplest meal. We’ve got lots of things to do with shrimp today!

Ingredients for lemon risotto:

  • shrimp: We need 12 whole shrimp that have been deveined but have their tail left on. We’re serving 6 shrimp on top of each bed of lemon risotto.
  • olive oil: The shrimp sears in olive oil in a grill pan.
  • fresh lemon: We need both the lemon zest and lemon juice for this recipe. The shrimp marinate in the lemon juice, and the risotto is flavored with the lemon zest stirred in.
  • salt and pepper: For seasoning and garnishing along the way.
  • red pepper flakes: Just a bit of spice on the shrimp to counterbalance the creamy lemon risotto.
  • butter: I use a small amount of unsalted butter for sautéing the vegetables.
  • onion: We need 1/2 a cup of diced white or yellow onion.
  • garlic: Two small cloves of garlic, minced.
  • arborio rice: You really need arborio or Carnaroli rice to make risotto. These short rice grains release starch while cooking, making risotto creamy. No other rice will work.
  • dry white wine: I like to deglaze my pan with a dry (not sweet) white wine before adding the chicken stock to bring acidity to the dish. If you don’t like to cook with wine, leave it out and substitute an equal amount of chicken broth.
  • chicken broth: Homemade chicken broth is always amazing, but I also recommend a low-salt chicken broth from the store.
  • fresh parsley: Optional fresh parsley, for garnish.

How to make lemon risotto with grilled shrimp:

  1. First, take the clean and deveined shrimp, and thread six of them onto each skewer. Brush them with olive oil, the juice from the lemon, and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Place them on a preheated grill pan that has been brushed with the olive oil.
    Shrimp on skewers on a grill pan.
  2. Cook the shrimp on each side for about 3 minutes, until the shrimp is firm and no longer opaque. Shrimp doesn’t take very long to cook, so keep a close eye on it.
  3. Next, begin the risotto. Melt the butter and cook the onion in the butter until softened, about 4 minuets. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, until the garlic is very fragrant.
    Onion and garlic sautéing in a pan with a wooden spoon.
  4. Once the vegetables have softened, it’s time to add the rice. The rice first cooks in the butter. Cook it over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the rice has a slightly translucent edge, but the center will still be white.
    Rice and onions in a pan with white wine being poured in.
  5. Next, add the white wine, and cook while stirring until the wine is mostly evaporated. This first sear of the rice in butter, followed by the wine ensures that the rice has an incredible flavor base to build upon.
  6. Now starts the slightly boring part: add the chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time while stirring nearly constantly while the rice simmers. The rice needs to slowly absorb broth while it cooked to be ultra-creamy. The frequent stirring helps the rice grains release their starch as they tumble against each other in the pan.
  7. When the rice is done, stir in the lemon zest, and give it a taste. Add salt and pepper, to taste–the amount of salt required is dependent upon the type of chicken broth you use. Some broth is much saltier than others, and store-bought broth is saltier than homemade chicken broth, so taste the dish and add enough salt to your taste.
    Closeup of shrimp on lemon risotto with lemon wedges.

I happen to think risotto for two is a great date night at home recipe, and I suggest serving it with molten chocolate cakes for two for dessert!

Yield: 2

Lemon Risotto

Closeup of shrimp on lemon risotto with lemon wedges.

Lemon risotto for two with grilled shrimp skewers.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

For the Shrimp:

  • 12 medium shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for pan

For the Risotto:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice (see notes)
  • 6 ounces dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Fresh parsley, optional for garnish

Instructions

    1. Preheat a grill pan over medium heat. Thread 6 shrimp on each skewer and set on a plate. Sprinkle the salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and olive oil evenly on both sides of the shrimp.
    2. Once the grill pan is hot, brush an thin layer of extra olive oil on the pan, and then cook the shrimp skewers on each side for 3 minutes. Set aside to rest, but cover with foil to keep warm.
    3. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for about 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds, until fragrant. If garlic threatens to burn, lower the heat.
    4. Next, add the rice and cook while constantly stirring for 5 minutes. When the rice has a slightly translucent edge and white center, it's time to add the wine.
    5. Add the wine to the rice and stir while cooking until it has almost completely evaporated.
    6. Once the wine evaporates, begin adding the chicken broth a 1/2 cup at a time while continuously stirring. Before adding the last 1/2 cup, taste the rice for doneness. The grains should still hold their shape, and the risotto should be creamy.
    7. When the rice is ready to be served, turn off the heat and add the last tablespoon of butter and the zest of the lemon. Stir until it melts. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
    8. Plate the risotto, adding a skewer of shrimp on top. Serve with fresh parsley.

Notes

shrimp: We need 12 whole shrimp that have been deveined but have their tail left on. We're serving 6 shrimp on top of each bed of lemon risotto.
olive oil: The shrimp sears in olive oil in a grill pan.
fresh lemon: We need both the lemon zest and lemon juice for this recipe. The shrimp marinate in the lemon juice, and the risotto is flavored with the lemon zest stirred in.
salt and pepper: For seasoning and garnishing along the way.
red pepper flakes: Just a bit of spice on the shrimp to counterbalance the creamy lemon risotto.
butter: I use a small amount of unsalted butter for sautéing the vegetables.
onion: We need 1/2 a cup of diced white or yellow onion.
garlic: Two small cloves of garlic, minced.
arborio rice: You really need arborio or Carnaroli rice to make risotto. These short rice grains release starch while cooking, making risotto creamy. No other rice will work.
dry white wine: I like to deglaze my pan with a dry (not sweet) white wine before adding the chicken stock to bring acidity to the dish. If you don't like to cook with wine, leave it out and substitute an equal amount of chicken broth.
chicken broth: Homemade chicken broth is always amazing, but I also recommend a low-salt chicken broth from the store.
fresh parsley: Optional fresh parsley, for garnish.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 555Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 1287mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 18g

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