Green Pesto Shrimp Skewers over Spring Pea and Asparagus Risotto


At the midway point between winter and spring, this Green Pesto Shrimp Skewers over Spring Pea and Asparagus Risotto can hit the best of both worlds. It is warm and comforting but includes a light pesto and bright green spring vegetables. I made the meal for friends on Sunday night and it took less than 45 minutes to prepare – including my cheat with store-bought pesto. I discovered Le Grande Garden Pesto in the refrigerated section at The Fresh Market a couple weeks ago. Tis the season for the prepared stuff – so don’t feel bad until basil is growing outside your kitchen window.

I recommended prepping the shrimp and cooking them when your guests arrive. Finish off the risotto and top with the shrimp on skewers. You could also add pesto to broiled fish or grilled chicken.

Enjoy and see you after the time change! Say hallelujah to sun past 6pm!

Green Pesto Shrimp

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Skewer shrimp and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes – flipping once. Then spoon or brush pesto on the hot shrimp.

Spring Pea and Asparagus Risotto based on Ina Garten’s Spring Green Risotto 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound thin asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 bag, frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 basil, minced, plus extra for serving

Heat the olive oil and butter in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for 6 to 8 minutes, until translucent. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, a couple pours at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This should take about thirty minutes – taste the rice for tenderness.

Meanwhile, microwave the asparagus pieces for about 2 or 3 minutes or until bright green and still crisp. You can also blanch them.

When the risotto has almost finished cooking, add the asparagus, peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and basil. Garnish with shaved parmesan cheese and basil. Top with Green Pesto Shrimp.

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