One of the best parts about taking a family vacation to Italy is the food, although there are many things to love about Italy. One place that is especially great is Sicily. Sicily is famous for its citrus orchards and their fruit is frequently used in Sicilian cooking. One fruit that deserves special mention is the Arancia Rossa di Sicilia or blood orange. With its rich orange flavor and delicate raspberry notes, it is a delight to cook with and wonderful to match with seafood. Here is one of my favorite recipes for one of the dishes that my family loved on our last vacation to Italy.
(If you can’t get blood oranges, the dish is very good with regular oranges.)
- 6 cups Shrimp Stock
- 1 ½ cups Risotto
- 2 Shallots, chopped
- 3 T Olive oil
- Zest of one blood orange
- ½ cup Heavy Cream (optional)
- 3 T Butter
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 T Olive oil
- 1 lb. Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- ½ cup Grand Marnier
- Juice of one blood orange
In a large sauté pan with olive oil, soften shallots over med-low heat. You should avoid getting any color on the shallots, you just want them to go clear.
Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, bring shrimp stock to a simmer.
Add rice to sauté pan and cook lightly for 2 minutes. Add one cup of shrimp stock to rice, raise temperature to medium, and stir with a wooden spoon until most of the water is absorbed. Continue adding one cup of stock at a time until all stock is absorbed and rice is tender. Taste for salt. Depending on your stock you may need to add a significant amount of salt to make the rice flavorful.
Reduce sauté pan to low heat. Add heavy cream, zest, and butter. Stir until thoroughly incorporated. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Cover and leave on very low heat to keep warm.
CAUTION: you are about to add alcohol to a hot pan, please be careful!
We are going to flambé the shrimp. To do this you need to be prepared. You will need a lid which fits your skillet (in case of emergency use the lid to extinguish flame). And you will need a long match.
Add oil to pan and heat until shimmering. Add shrimp. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes.
Move the pan safely away from the cook top. Add Grand Marnier, and orange juice to the pan.
Return pan to heat. When the liquid begins to simmer, use a long match to light alcohol. Shake pan gently while alcohol burns off. When flames go out the shrimp should be fully cooked and ready to serve (about 2 more minutes).
Serve shrimp and a spoonful of the juices over the risotto, garnish with a slice of orange.
You can make this at home, or, the other option is to plan your next family vacation to Italy and try the dish right from the source!