I call this a “Basque” risotto because the delicious and punchy flavors remind me of a holiday in Spain. Imagine “gambas al ajillo” (garlic shrimp) and chorizo tapas but in a risotto, and you have this recipe.

This was a pantry recipe I put together, since in our home we always keep a few packets of Arborio risotto rice at home for a weeknight meal because it’s so versatile.

Fish stock can be hard to get ahold of (and expensive) so you can also substitute bottled clam juice or vegetable stock. I’d strongly advise against using beef or chicken broth because the flavors won’t mesh so well.

The addition of fish sauce at the end is to add extra dimension and umami to the dish and trust me, you’ll be glad you did when you taste the final product. My favorite all-time fish sauce is Red Boat and we use it for so much more than only Asian dishes. If you don’t have fish sauce, try subbing an equal amount of Worcestershire sauce to round out the flavors more fully.

If you’ve never made risotto before and have only had it in restaurants before, the prospect might seem a little daunting since it might seem like a night-out restaurant food. However, risotto is easy even for beginner cooks to make, you just need to know a few things beforehand.

Risotto isn’t simply boiled rice. It requires a specific type of rice to come out properly and needs a lot of attention while you’re making it. It’s not quite a dish you can leave on the stove and walk away from, but it’s so delicious and so rewarding that you’ll be glad you paid attention to it!

I hope you enjoy making and eating this risotto as much as I enjoyed developing the recipe for you!

Basque Shrimp, Garlic and Chorizo Risotto

A zingy twist on the familiar risotto, with flavors reminiscent of a holiday in Spain.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean, Spanish
Keyword: chorizo, garlic, italian food, risotto, shrimp, spain, spanish food
Servings: 2
Author: MariVamps


  • large, heavy bottomed-saucepan or risotto pan


  • 200 grams Risotto rice Arborio is best
  • 250 grams medium to large shrimp thawed if from frozen
  • 2 shallots or one medium white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely diced or pressed
  • 120 grams chorizo minced
  • 100 ml dry white wine or vermouth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 600 ml fish, seafood or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce Red Boat is my favorite
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp parsley (optional)


  • Make sure your mise en place is ready and you have your ingredients prepped and ready to go right away. Risotto requires a lot of attention while you're making it so you don't want to be prepping ingredients as you're stirring.
  • Finely mince the shallots (or onion), chorizo and garlic. Chop the parsley.
  • In a separate saucepan, heat the stock until it's just simmering, then maintain it on lowest heat.
  • In your heavy-bottomed risotto pan, turn the heat on to medium and add the olive oil. Immediately after add the shallots, garlic and chorizo. Stir and cook for 5-8 minutes until fat is rendered from the chorizo and the shallots and garlic soften but do not brown.
  • Add Arborio rice to the pan. Stir through and keep cooking until rice turns pearlescent and slightly translucent. Add in cayenne and paprika and stir again.
  • Add wine or vemouth and stir, making sure alcohol evaporates and leaves only a small amount or no liquid behind.
  • Add in warmed stock a ladleful at a time. After each ladleful, keep gently stirring the risotto, making sure to stir up from the bottom as well to make sure it doesn't stick and fully incorporate the stock. When each ladleful of stock is absorbed by the rice, then you can add another one and repeat the process.
  • Before you add the final ladleful and when you've tasted you're risotto to make sure it's just al dente, add in the shrimp and fish sauce and stir to thoroughly incorporate.
  • Finish your risotto by stirring through the butter to add an extra silkiness.
  • Turn off heat, let risotto sit for 2 minutes to let some of the starches develop a bit more then plate onto wide, shallow bowls and add chopped parsley for a little extra flavor and garnish.


This is a fun recipe to play around with a little, and you could also try a jambalaya-style risotto by adding in minced peppers and substituting the chorizo for andouille sausage. 
Print Recipe

Let me know if you make this recipe and your thoughts on it in the comments below!