Giada De Laurentiis is one of my favorite celebrity chefs, because she emphasizes flavor over everything else. That and I have yet to find Italian food I don’t like. While I was watching her show the other day, her aunt appeared as a guest and they made her grandmother’s famous rice dish. Rice is “toasted” in butter and cooked in broth, and shrimp is served in a decadent butter and cream sauce over the rice. If nothing else, remember this rice. The buttery al dente rice is out of this world!
To give the dish a little bit more color and some added flavor, I also added in scallions, banana peppers, and bell pepper, which went wonderfully. I also switched out the white parboiled rice for brown rice, because I love the flavor of brown rice so much better! I was a little dismayed to read on the comments for the site that so many people had issues with the dish, because I thought it was fantastic. A lot of people said it was too lemony, and that it was silly to call lemon a secret ingredient because it was so overpowering. In the end, I could barely taste the lemon, so I can definitely see why she called it a “secret ingredient”. The dish would have been a lot less without the lemon, but its flavor definitely played in the background in the final dish for me.
My only real critique is that 1/2 lb. of shrimp is a very large serving per person, especially if this dish is not your only dish in your meal. So depending on your situation/how hungry you are, you may want to alter how much you are making.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Ingredients (4 servings):
4 tbs. butter
1 large clove garlic, crushed
2 cups brown rice
3.5 cups chicken broth
4 tbs. butter
2 lbs shrimp (if using frozen, thaw and drain first)
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbs. hot sauce
1/2 cup bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup banana peppers, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
1. Melt 4 tbs. butter in a pan (med. heat) with garlic clove. Once melted, add in the rice, and stir often until rice turns golden. Once golden, remove garlic clove and add broth.
2. Bring to a boil, then turn heat back down and simmer covered until all the broth is absorbed.
3. While rice is cooking, melt 4 tbs. butter in a skillet with the garlic (the same clove you used for the rice) and add shrimp and lemons. Once the garlic has imparted its flavor, remove it. Add in red pepper flakes, hot sauce, and other peppers to the pan. Saute (med. high) until shrimp are cooked through. Remove from heat and let stand about 1-2 minutes.
4. Once liquid is no longer boiling, add in the cream. You don’t want to add it in while it is too hot or you will risk curdling. Add pepper to taste.
5. Serve shrimp over rice and garnish with scallions.