Shrimp Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Shrimp, Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto - Beth Warren the BakerSo exactly a year ago I had an audition for “Come Dine With Me Canada”.

One of the producers – a lovely man named Bobby – came to my house to interview me on camera to see if I would do well on the show.  He chatted with me for about 20 minutes asking questions like, what is my dream job… duh.  Game show host. I was reasonably funny and entertaining and when asked how people described me I said “probably slightly insane”.. he asked why… I said “likely all the head injuries..”   He thought I was joking.  I was not (I’ve had some concussions…)  So we kidded around and such and then I was to make a dish in 30 minutes or less while being recorded on camera.  

I chose to make risotto… It was originally a recipe I had found on the internet.  After watching so many cooking competitions and having all these people fail at risotto I just had to see how difficult it really was.  It really isn’t DIFFICULT.. the biggest thing is keeping the broth warm so that it absorbs into the rice quickly.  This is a recipe I concocted after playing around with a few I found online.

Anyhow… I had made it before and was pretty confident I could do it in less than 30 minutes.  I proceeded to make the risotto while answering questions … they just want to see how you’ll react under pressure, etc.  And whether or not you’ll be entertaining on television.  (Hey, Ted Ellis from CMT once told me I am good TV.  So there.)

Finished the risotto and offered Bobby some… and he declined!  He wasn’t there to eat, just to film me. Well, fine then! More for Marc Thomas! (MT was quite happy about that and ate a lot of it…) Of course, once I was “done”, I realized I hadn’t added the mushrooms so unobtrusively did so before he went for the closeup of the dish….

Bobby said thanks for letting him come over and he felt I had a very good shot at getting on the show and that I was fun, etc.  I was fairly excited as I LOVE that show and thought it would be a fun thing to do!

Annnnnd… then the show was cancelled.  Bah! Oh well.  You can still try the risotto…..

Although I don’t have any video of this, you CAN see a bit of me here in a “Google Hangout” that I did with one of the Masterchef contestants.  Or you can wait until I post the recipe from that….

BRING BACK COME DINE WITH ME CANADA!!  Okay,  I’m done now.  Here’s the recipe:


-6 cups chicken broth, divided
-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
-1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
-1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
-10 stalks asparagus, cut into pieces
-2 shallots, diced
-1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-sea salt to taste
-freshly ground black pepper to taste
-3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
-4 tablespoons butter
-1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (use lactose free if you wish)


In a saucepan, warm the broth over medium heat.  Have a ladle or a measuring cup handy to scoop out the broth.
Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  You have to make sure that the oil (I usually add about a tbsp of butter as well) is HOT.  You should hear a sizzle.  If the oil/butter isn’t hot enough, the mushrooms will leak a lot of liquid.  Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms (and their liquid) and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed.  Add asparagus.  Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add shrimp with last addition of broth.
Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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