Asparagus and shrimp seem to be natural partners for Italian carb recipes, either pasta or risotto. In our early and nutritiously risky youth, we took serious shortcuts to achieve this pairing quicklyby dumping condensed cream of asparagus and cream of shrimp soup together to make a fast creamy sauce. This was first executed with orecchiette as quick pastasparagus in Part One, and suggested as a risotto sauce in our basic Part One risotto recipe (see the option section). Unfortunately condensed soups are salt disasters and although dr bob grew up as a Campbell's soup junkie, he managed to kick the habit somewhere along the way to maturity.
Asparagus is a terrific veggie that we have incorporated into pasta and risotto in various ways over the years [1, 2], but finally we went for a reformed version of our youthful indiscretion with shrimp, throwing in a saffron variation traditionally labeled as risotto Milanese. Shrimp can be quite pricey, and in view of the recent global financial collapse of 2008, it pays to look for ways to lower the cost of that ingredient. Ani noticed frozen deveined tail-free shrimp on sale for a steal at a local supermarket, 2 whole pounds worth with a ziplock resealable top, so we were ready not only for the risotto, but for a subsequent veggie stir fry, leaving still one more hit for supper protein left in the freezer. The frozen little shrimps looked pretty colorless thawing out in the cold water, and a faint worry crossed out minds about the short cut we were taking here, but somehow magically the pink color came back when cooked in the risotto. Fresh asparagus seems to fluctuate in price, but irregularly throughout the whole year it seems that you don't have to wait too long for its price to seem reasonable. The fresh stuff only, or maybe frozen stuff, but avoid the cans and bottles, it's chock full of salt. We try to cook most stuff from scratch (original ingredients), except for occasional treats from Trader Joe's.
By incorporating the shrimp into the risotto, one does not need to worry about an additional protein dish. You can just eat large portions with a healthy salad and feel good about it. At least that's what we do. Whether justified or not.