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We had a lovely Easter celebration yesterday, which we hosted for my brother Matt and his family and some very close friends, the Willcock family (really, I told them that they might as well be “related.”)

ready for guests

Our little Minneapolis house expanded to accommodate 7 children, 1 teenager, and 6 adults. Thank the Lord above that it was one of the very few warm, sunny days we’ve had in months.

This April week also brings three birthdays in Matt’s family, so we did some present opening as well.

easter lunch

April birthday presents

On the menu?

I slowly heated a cooked ham at 300 degrees for about 2 hours, basting it every 15 minutes, until it was sweet and crispy like a honeybaked ham. I threw approx. 4 organic carrots–chopped into big pieces–into the pan for the last 30 minutes until they were soft and sweet as well.

Vicki brought a delicious salad with avocado. Matt and Noemi brought chips and salsa (we are Hedricks after all) and scones.

And I made a shrimp spring risotto, which has become one of my favorite additions to the Easter meal.

I know that lots of people are intimidated by risotto, but it’s really not difficult. I just make sure that everything is chopped and measured in advance so that I can focus only on timing, i.e. making sure the rice doesn’t dry out.

And I buy the best quality ingredients I can afford. For a special occasion like this one, I went to the Wedge and got the nicest looking fresh shrimp they had, organic vegetables, and a goat’s milk gouda to make it a little creamier. Because I had time this year, I made my own shrimp and veggie stock for the base. But you certainly could buy stock…I’ve done that in previous years.

I always think that a shortcut is perfectly acceptable if it will make it possible for you to try something you wouldn’t otherwise have the confidence to try.

Here’s the recipe! xo


Shrimp Spring Risotto

Note: I doubled this recipe and it easily fed all 6 adults with some leftover for my lunch today!

You need:

1 lb fresh medium-sized shrimps, with shells and heads

2 celery stalks

1 fennel bulb

1 carrot

2 garlic cloves

1 onion

2 shallots

260 g Carnaroli rice (or Vialone nano), a risotto rice

2 tbsp olive oil

40 g butter

2 tbsp grated parmesan

Basil leaves – They were out of basil at the store, so I used fresh Italian parsley instead, chopping it up really fine

1 cup frozen peas (organic)

4 tbsp Vermouth (prefer Vermouth to white wine) – I didn’t have either this time

To make the shrimp stock
Heat a large pot and add 2 tbsp olive oil.When hot, cook the shells and heads of the shrimps for 5 mns.
Add 2 tbsp vermouth. Cook until all of the liquid is evaporated.Add the chopped onion, celery stalk, carrot. When soft, add 1.4 l water. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 15 mins.Use a sieve to strain your broth. You will need about 4 cups of broth for your risotto.

For the risotto
Chop the fennel, the celery stalk, the shallots and the garlic thinly.Grate the parmesan.Cut the shrimps in halves. (I didn’t do this.) Take a large pot and melt 20 g butter. Add the vegetables that you will cook for 5 mns on medium to low heat, or until soft. Stir occasionally.Add the rice, stir and coat the grains. Cook for 1 mn then add the 2 remaining tbsp of vermouth. Cook until the liquid is evaporated.

Then add a cup of broth at a time. Cook each time until all the liquid is absorbed.
For the last cup of broth, add with it the frozen peas and the shrimps (I also added in some of that goat’s milk gouda I mentioned above.) Stir well and cook for 3 mns. Make sure you do not overcook the rice as the risotto needs to stay wet. This is very important. Wet is good for risotto.
Remove from the heat and add the chopped basil, the last 20g of butter and the parmesan.

I’m sorry, but I can’t figure out where this recipe came from. It’s been on my computer for a few years, and a simple Google search hasn’t brought it to light. I give absolute credit where credit is due: I did not create this recipe.