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Tomato and Shrimp Risotto with Ouzo and Feta

Early in the spring, some cute little birds were driving us crazy. Keith and I sat in our office while they pecked away at the cedar shingles on our house, trying to puncture their way to a nest. We tried pounding on the windows, squirting them with water, and hanging a ridiculous, twirling butterfly windsock in failed attempts to scare them away. Ultimately we prevailed with a strand of red and silver flash tape strung along the eaves.


Midway in our plight, Keith built a little bird house and attached it to a tree outside our office window. We read that sometimes, if you provide a house, the birds will abandon their destructive efforts. They didn’t show a hint of interest.

A wasted effort? As it turns out, no.

Squirrel Snoozing on the Bird House.JPG

We’ve been spending more hours than we’d like in our office, pecking away at our keyboards. The other day we noticed this little guy snoozing on the roof.

When we’re working long hours, I lose motivation to cook new things and often lean on familiar dishes. But I couldn’t shake the urge to make a dish that Louisa, of The Wednesday Chef, posted recently - Diane Kochilas’ Tomato, Oregano and Feta Risotto. A few things intrigued me: fresh tomato in risotto, the combination of tomato and ouzo, and the swap of feta for Parmesan. The idea somersaulted in my mind, mixed with my unusual method for making risotto – short grain brown rice partially cooked instead of white arborio, and melded with a couple of other flavors I was craving.

When Louisa said this is a ‘flavor bomb’, she wasn’t kidding. Though I used water instead of broth as she mused, I added punch with briny kalamata olives and buttery rich prawns, so it hardly softened the blow. It’s the kind of meal where you relish every bite and finish utterly satisfied.

Tomato and Shrimp Risotto with Asparagus.JPG

Tomato and Shrimp Risotto with Ouzo and Feta
Inspired by Louisa of The Wednesday Chef by way of Diane Kochilas.
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 1 pint ripe grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ⅓ cup ouzo (our favorite has a prominent, black #12 on the label)
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup slivered, fresh basil leaves
  • chive flowers for garnish (optional)
  1. Partially cook short grain brown rice in a rice cooker or saucepan using ½ cup less liquid than called for on the package. Cook for about 10 minutes less than the package directs, leaving the rice slightly under-cooked. If you are using a rice cooker, use the white rice instead of brown rice setting.
  2. Add tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor or blender pitcher and pulse until nearly pureed, leaving some small pieces; reserve.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; cook and stir until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add partially cooked rice; cook and stir to coat with olive oil, about 1 minute. Add warm water and ouzo; stir until absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add pureed tomatoes; cook and stir until tomato has softened and liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add feta, kalamata olives, and lemon zest; cook and stir until feta has melted, about 1 minute. Add shrimp; cook and stir until shrimp is pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Check flavor; add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  4. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with fresh basil and chive flowers if desired. Serve.
Serves 4


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19 Responses to Tomato and Shrimp Risotto with Ouzo and Feta

  1. Simply Life June 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    this dish sounds incredible and your photos are absolutely stunning!

    • Marissa June 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      Thank you so much!

  2. Giovanna June 4, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    It’s time for breakfast, but your photos are so ” realistiche” that i’d like to try your risotto right now !!!

    • Marissa June 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

      Thanks G! Fly on over and I’ll make some for you. :)

  3. Reem | Simply Reem June 4, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    That shrimp tangled with creamy risotto, OMG!!! Absolute deliciousness…
    B/W I love ur stove, I have been thinking of getting one of these for my kitchen ;-) SO open …

    • Marissa June 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      Thanks Reem – we got the range-top not too long ago and I really enjoy it.

  4. Eileen June 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    I was going to ask if this was a touch too sweet, with the tomato and shrimp–but then I saw the olives and feta! A perfect balance. :)

    • Marissa June 5, 2012 at 11:34 am #

      Hi Eileen – it is a nice balance, though very rich!

  5. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella June 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    That looks really wonderful and I like how you have it with shrimp too! :D Love your little snoozing visitor ;)

    • Marissa June 5, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Isn’t he a cutie. Yes, the shrimp are so good…

  6. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes June 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I make brown rice risotto all the time too! Tomato and feta cheese, that´s a superb combination.
    I gave you a One Lovely Blog Award. You can check it out in my blog

    • Marissa June 5, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Thanks so much Paula – I checked it out on your site. So nice!

  7. Susan June 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Wow! What a great combination of flavors! And – it looks gorgeous, too!

    • Marissa June 5, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      Hi Susan – thank you!

  8. OishiiTreats June 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Beautiful pic of your risotto, I love that you used brown rice, I do the same =) sorry to hear about the lil bird problem, hopefully they will take notice of the cute lil bird house on the tree just for them.

    • Marissa June 8, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      Thank you – maybe they’ll find the house next year. :)

  9. Lemon June 8, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    This looks like a lovely risotto, reading your recipe, I get hungry. Beautiful photos you have here.

    • Marissa June 8, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      Thank you!


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