Chef Celebrates with Family Dinner!

Shrimp & Risotto


We have a tradition at my house where we gather for a family dinner to celebrate birthdays. Of course, the person celebrating gets to pick the menu. So what’s the chef’s selection when it’s her birthday? Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with Risotto & Roasted Rosemary Vegetables!

I lean toward Italian as one of my favorite cuisines, and risotto is great Italian comfort food for a family dinner. This Parmesan and thyme risotto served as a savory foundation for some tomatoes, roasted to a chunky sauce consistency, and tossed with fresh basil.  To round out my veggie cravings, I also roasted a colorful combination of butternut squash, parsnips, beets, carrots and onions, tossed with olive oil and rosemary.

Thinking through the menu prep, I knew I would be busy attending to the risotto (which was also a great opportunity for sipping wine and catching up with my daughter.) But this would drive the need for a simple-to-execute main dish. The prosciutto wrapped shrimp fit the bill perfectly and also played into the Italian theme of the meal.  I was able to pull together the shrimp ahead of time and pop them under the broiler for the few minutes required after I reached just the right texture with the risotto.

That’s the thing about risotto, you never know exactly how long it’s going to take. Since I was serving it as a side dish vs. a main course, being able to easily coordinate the timing for the main dish was key. This menu game plan managed to accomplish that quite nicely. Some may think it’s odd to cook their own birthday meal, but as my tagline testifies – I cook because it’s in my soul! It was a delicious meal and a fun birthday celebration.

PS – My daughter’s comment to this post reminded me to include the link to the Brownies with Salted Caramel Frosting which I made for dessert. These were part of my Fall Tea post.

Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with Risotto and Roasted Rosemary Vegetables


    Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp
  • 20 large frozen peeled, deveined shrimp, thawed (I prefer to remove the tails but you can leave them on if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 ounces (10 slices) very thin prosciutto
  • cooking spray
  • wooden skewers soaked in water for 20 minutes
  • 1 small onion, (preferably sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup grated or shredded Parmesan
  • kosher salt & pepper to taste
    Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 pint red cherry or small on-the-vine tomatoes
  • 1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • kosher salt & pepper to taste
    Roasted Rosemary Vegetables
  • 2 pounds (net weight) combination of peeled, chopped, squash, parsnips, beets, carrots (or other root vegetables) cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 small red or sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • kosher salt & pepper to taste


    Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp
  • Preheat broiler
  • In a small bowl combine olive oil, lemon zest, basil, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Put shrimp in a medium bowl, drizzle with olive oil mixture and toss well to coat. Set aside.
  • Lay the prosciutto slices on a large work surface and cut each in half lengthwise so you have 20 pieces. Wrap the prosciutto around each shrimp (leave tail shell unwrapped if you've left them on.) Thread shrimp onto wooden skewers (don't overcrowd so they are able to cook properly.) You should have approximately 4-6 skewers, depending on the size of your shrimp.
  • Place skewers on a broiling pan or baking sheet coated with cooking spray spray. Broil 2-3 minutes per side or until shrimp is done and prosciutto just starts to crisp slightly. Serve hot.
  • Saute onions, garlic, thyme and risotto in hot pan with butter and olive oil until rice just begins to brown. Deglaze pan with white wine and soy sauce. Continue to cook rice, stirring almost constantly, while ladling in approximately 1/2 - 3/4 cup of chicken both at a time. Cook until almost all of the broth is absorbed before adding the next batch of broth. This process takes approximately 30-45 minutes. Start tasting the rice at 30 minutes to see if it is tender. Rice will be ready when it has just reached the tender stage and is quite thick from the release of the starch. Add the cream and the Parmesan and stir to combine. Let rest for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings if required (salt, pepper or a little extra fresh chopped thyme.) Serve with roasted tomatoes, if preferred.
    Roasted Tomatoes
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the halved tomatoes lightly with olive oil in a baking dish or a baking pan with olive oil. Spread to a single layer and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and just starting to collapse.
  • Transfer tomatoes to a serving dish and toss with basil and additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot or at room temperature.
    Roasted Rosemary Vegetables
  • To make peeling the butternut squash MUCH easier, I recommend the following. Cut off both ends of the squash (about 1/4 - 1/2".) Poke squash all over with fork and microwave for 3 1/2 - 4 minutes. Let squash cool until you are able to handle it and then use vegetable peeler to peel of skin. Halve squash, scoop out seeds and cut into approximately a 1 inch dice.
  • Use vegetable peeler to peel the beet and chop into 1 inch pieces
  • Use can peel or just scrub the parsnips and carrots and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Chop onions into a large dice
  • Combine vegetables in large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss with rosemary salt & pepper. Spread on baking sheet and roast for 40 - 45 minutes until just tender and browned. Before serving, you can toss with a little extra olive oil and/or butter, additional rosemary, salt & pepper, if you'd like to boost the flavor.

7 thoughts on “Chef Celebrates with Family Dinner!

  1. So glad you enjoyed it! I appreciate your help in the kitchen (and Stacey too!) which I totally forgot to mention in my post. I also appreciate your comment about the brownies. That prompted me to add the link to that previous post as well.

  2. Everything was so delicious, my particular favorite was the salted caramel brownies for dessert! Happy birthday and thank you so much for dinner

Let Me Know What You Think!