Rock Shrimp & Fava Bean Risotto Recipe

A seafood spin on a classic Italian meal.


3-1/2 cups shrimp, chicken or fish stock
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots minced
1 cup arborio rice
1 large garlic clove, chopped
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more to garnish
Kosher salt
3 tbsp butter
1-1/3 cups fresh fava beans, blanched and removed from their outer casing (substitute fresh or frozen lima beans or edamame)
Flaky or coarse salt
1-1/2 lb rock shrimp*
1/4 cup Fino sherry
1/2 tsp chili flakes, lightly crushed
Black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, rolled and cut into threads

* Rock shrimp are a species of shrimp. They are smaller and their shells are soft, so they do not need to be peeled. When it comes to shrimp, wild-caught and farmed from the United States or European Union are the best choices, with wild spot prawns from Alaska and wild pink shrimp from Oregon being the best of the best. Avoid: farm-raised shrimp from Asia, including those from China, India, Thailand and Malaysia.


Step 1: Bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Transfer the hot stock to a heat-proof container and set aside.

Step 2: In the same sauce­pan over medium heat, combine the olive oil and shallots. Cook the shallots for 2-3 minutes or until just soft. Add the rice and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the rice is well coated and heated in the oil. Add the garlic and half the lemon zest. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the garlic is just fragrant, but not coloured. Add 2 cups of stock, stir, and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, for 10-15 minutes or until the stock is mostly absorbed, before adding more stock in 1/2 cup increments.

Step 3: After about 20 min­utes, you’ll notice the rice has increased in volume and gained a thick, creamy consistency. It’s almost done. Lower the heat to slow the cooking and taste the rice. It should be smooth and creamy, with a lovely body of texture, but no actual crunch. If it’s done, turn off the heat and stir in the remaining half of the lemon zest, 1 tbsp of the lemon juice and the Parmigiano. Taste for salt, lemon flavour and acidity, adding a pinch or two of kosher salt or a little more lemon juice, as you like.

Step 4: In a large sauté pan, melt 1 tbsp of the butter over high heat. Add the fava beans and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they’re hot and have lost their raw edge. Give them a pinch of flaky or coarse salt, transfer to a plate, and set aside. Lower the heat to medium, and melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter. Add the shrimp, Sherry and chili flakes and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are just cooked. (If you’re not using rock shrimp, you’ll need to cook the shrimp longer.) Sprinkle with the leftover lemon juice, a little flaky or coarse salt and good grind of black pepper.

Step 5: In shallow bowls or on dinner plates, portion out the risotto with the shrimp and beans. Finish with a scattering of basil and freshly grated Parmigiano.

Reprinted with permission from Cree LeFavour’s Fish (2013 Raincoast Books).