Green Chili Risotto and Shrimp (or chicken, or mushrooms, or…) is a delightful fusion of Italian and spicy flavors. This recipe offers a perfect balance of creaminess and heat, enhanced by the succulence of shrimp… perhaps (you have choices).

Green Chili Risotto and Shrimp

What is Risotto?

Risotto specifically uses short-grain rice varieties like Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano. These are known for their high starch content and ability to absorb liquids while still retaining a firm texture. This starchiness is what gives risotto its creamy consistency. Gluten Free

Here’s how to prepare this dish, with variations for vegetarians and meat lovers.

Green Chili Risotto Ingredients

For the Risotto:

  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup green chilis, chopped (adjust according to heat preference)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Shrimp:

  • 400g shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Vegetarian Alternatives:

  • Replace shrimp with diced tofu or mushrooms.
  • Use vegetable stock.

Meat Alternatives:

  • Substitute shrimp with chicken or chorizo slices.


  1. Prepare the Stock: In a saucier pan, keep the stock warm over low heat.
  2. Cook the Onion and Garlic: In a separate large pan, heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic, sautéing until soft.
  3. Add Rice: Stir in the Arborio rice, ensuring it’s well-coated with oil. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add Wine: Pour in the white wine, stirring until mostly absorbed.
  5. Add Stock Gradually: Begin adding warm stock, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Wait until each addition is almost fully absorbed before adding more.
  6. Add Green Chilis: Halfway through the stock, add the green chilis.
  7. Cook Until Creamy: Continue adding stock and stirring until the rice is al dente and creamy (about 20 minutes).
  8. Cook Shrimp: In another pan, heat olive oil. Add shrimp, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook until shrimp are pink and opaque.
  9. Combine and Serve: Stir Parmesan into the risotto, season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with shrimp, garnished with parsley or cilantro, and a wedge of lemon.

The Perfect Pan

The choice of saucepan can significantly influence the outcome of your Green Chili Risotto with Shrimp.

Here are some key points to consider for selecting the best saucepan:

1. Wide and Shallow Pan

  • Ideal Choice: A wide and shallow pan, such as a saucier, or a broad, low-sided pot.
  • Why: This shape allows for even heat distribution and more surface area, facilitating the evaporation of liquid, which is crucial for a creamy risotto without being mushy.

2. Material

  • Heavy-Bottomed Pan: Opt for a pan with a heavy bottom, such as stainless steel or enameled cast iron.
  • Heat Distribution: These materials provide consistent heat distribution, preventing hot spots that could cause uneven cooking or burning.
  • Non-Reactive Surface: Stainless steel or enameled surfaces are non-reactive, ensuring that acidic ingredients like wine don’t cause any off-flavors.

3. Size

  • Capacity: Choose a pan that can comfortably hold all ingredients with enough room to stir. A 3 to 4-quart pan is usually suitable for most risotto recipes.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: Ensure there’s enough space to stir the rice freely, which is vital for releasing starch and achieving the right texture.

4. Handles and Lid

  • Sturdy Handles: Look for a pan with sturdy, heat-resistant handles for safe and easy handling.
  • Lid: While not always necessary for risotto, a lid can be helpful for keeping the stock warm in a separate pot.

5. Non-Stick vs. Traditional

  • Non-Stick Pans: They can be used but are not ideal. Non-stick surfaces can prevent the rice from toasting properly in the initial sautéing stage, which is important for flavor development.
  • Traditional Pans: Stainless steel or enameled cast iron pans are preferable for their superior heat conduction and the ability to develop a fond (the caramelized bits that form at the bottom of the pan), which adds depth to the risotto’s flavor.

For making risotto, a wide, shallow, heavy-bottomed stainless steel or enameled cast iron pan is ideal. This type of pan ensures even heat distribution, allows for proper evaporation of liquids, and provides sufficient space for stirring, which are all key factors in achieving the perfect texture and flavor in your risotto.

Tips for Success

  • Constant stirring is key to a creamy risotto.
  • Use warm stock; cold stock can slow down the cooking process.
  • Adjust green chilis according to your heat preference.

Optional Ingredients:

  • Fresh parsley or cilantro, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Red chili flakes, for extra heat

Nutrient Notes (Per Serving)

  • Calories: Approximately 350-400
  • Protein: 20-25g
  • Carbohydrates: 50-60g
  • Fat: 10-15g

Note: Nutrient values can vary based on ingredients and portion sizes.

Is Risotto Gluten Free?

As for being gluten-free, risotto is inherently gluten-free since it’s made from rice, which does not contain gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and is not naturally present in rice. Therefore, risotto is a suitable dish for those following a gluten-free diet, provided all other ingredients added to the risotto are also free of gluten.

Note: It’s always important to consider cross-contamination if you’re preparing food for someone with celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity. This can occur if the same utensils, cookware, or cooking surfaces are used for both gluten-free and gluten-containing foods. Additionally, some store-bought stocks or broths (often used in preparing risotto) may contain gluten, so it’s crucial to read labels carefully.

Dinner Table Fodder

  • History of Risotto: Originating from Northern Italy, risotto is a staple in Italian cuisine. It’s believed to have been introduced by the Arabs during the Middle Ages, who brought rice to Italy and Spain.
  • Risotto & Art: The method of making risotto – constant stirring – is often compared to the art of painting, requiring patience, skill, and a gentle touch.
  • Green Chilis: Green chilis are not just about adding flavor and heat; they’re rich in Vitamin C and have been used in cooking across various cultures for centuries.

This Green Chili Risotto with Shrimp is not only a culinary delight but also a journey through history and culture, making it a perfect dish for both gastronomic and intellectual satisfaction.

Enjoy your meal and the rich conversation it sparks!

By the way, you might also be interested in authentic fried rice.

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