My Chef's Hat - Pan Seared/Blackened Shrimp with Risotto with Bacon & Kale

Last weekend I was watching the Food Network and came across Giada at Home.  Overall I like Giada, but sometimes she gets on my nerves when she has that cheesy full-mouth smile going all the time.  It looks really fake.  But she makes good food!  She was making what looked like an amazing dish called risotto with bacon & kale.  It was one of those warm comfort dishes that looked super easy to make, and I love all the ingredients.  I also liked the idea of baking the risotto instead of cooking it, because you wouldn't have to pay as close attention for the 40 minutes it usually takes to cook.

The dish is really a one-pot meal, because you add in chicken and leftover roasted vegetables and bake the whole thing as a casserole.  However, I had already thawed out some shrimp so I decided to do that instead.  And to go with the savory of the risotto I decided I needed some shrimp with a kick.  And that's where the pan seared & blackened shrimp came into play.  The shrimp recipe I found actually was served with lemon risotto with arugula, but I didn't have any lemons or arugula, and had already settled on the other risotto anyways.

Here's the official recipe photos:

And here's my version:

This was awesome!  I didn't have any leftover roasted veggies, and I hate leftovers anyway, so I just omitted them.  And I was all set to bake the risotto, when I realized that I don't have a dutch oven or anything that would transfer well into the oven I just went back to the regular old method of cooking the risotto.  The shrimp had a really good kick.  It wasn't too spicy, but I could definitely see how a shake too much of one of the spices would scorch your mouth.  And the risotto cooled down the heat of the shrimp as well.  It worked really well together.

Will I make these again?  Definitely!  Next time I may try to lemon risotto.  I usually keep lemons on hand anyways.  I don't ever buy arugula so that probably won't be part of the dish.  But this risotto with teh bacon and kale will definitely be part of my regular rotation.

Risotto recipe found on Food Network

Shrimp recipe found on The Cafe Sucre Farine