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Lemon and Shrimp Risotto with Fresh Basil

4 Servings

45 minutes

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This is our version of the rich, intensely flavored risotto di limone that Giovanna Aceto taught us to make in Amalfi, Italy. In an unusual twist, the risotto is finished with an egg yolk and a couple tablespoons of cream, giving the rice a lush, velvety taste and texture. To create a flavorful broth for simmering the risotto, we steep the shrimp shells and strips of lemon zest in water, and for citrus notes that register at every level, we stir in bright, puckery lemon juice and floral, fragrant grated zest just before serving. If you purchase shrimp that are already shelled, bottled clam juice is a fine substitute. Bring two 8-ounce bottles clam juice, 3 cups water, ½ teaspoon salt and the zest strips to a simmer in the saucepan and cook, covered, for 10 minutes to infuse, then strain as directed.




Don’t uncover the pot for at least 5 minutes after adding the shrimp. Lifting the lid releases some of the residual heat that’s needed to cook the shrimp.

45 minutes


  • 2


  • 2

    teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve


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Catherine D.
May 15, 2024
Creamy lemony risotto with the most tender shrimp. Will most definitely make this again.
Nancy K.
December 14, 2022
A bright change for risotto
I made half the recipe for 2 of us. Heeding warnings from other reviewers, I used less lemon juice than called for. I didn’t want to mess with half an egg yolk so skipped it and added a tablespoon or so of water to loosen the finished risotto. I probably used more salt, but I always salt to taste. I thought the flavor was great - bright yet creamy. My shrimp were perfectly flavorful. I always buy wild-caught large shrimp…maybe they have more flavor than farmed? At any rate, this will go on my regular rotation.
Therese F.
August 4, 2022
Even better than expected
I also added only 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice at the end. It was the right amount for us.
Robin P.
July 27, 2022
Creamy, smooth, lemon goodness. Perfect summer comfort food.
Laura H.
May 27, 2024
Great directions. I followed the comments and added only 2 T of lemon juice - great call! Delish, light meal for a hot (start to the summer) Houston evening.
Ruth D.

I just made this yesterday. I wish I would have tasted it before I put on the 1/4 c. of lemon juice in the end. The texture of the risotto was so creamy, the shrimp perfectly cooked but it was a total lemon bomb. I couldn't taste anything but lemon--and it was sharp--not pleasant--biting into the shrimp did provide a welcomed escape. I will make this again but try it without putting the lemon in in the end.

Rebecca B.

Question -- what kind of volume reduction are we looking for in the shrimp broth? After starting with 5 cups of water, how much should we end up with for use in the recipe, which says at one point to "add the rest of the broth."

Andrew F.

Wonderful dish, but my instincts told me 1/4 cup of lemon juice would overpower the dish, so I used half that amount (2 tbsp), and the flavor was nicely balanced.

Heidi S.

I thought I had followed the recipe exactly, and ended up with a very soupy texture. (I have made risotto before and have had it in restaurants.) Others have not commented on this soupiness so I wonder where I went wrong with the liquids. Also, for someone like me who had never cooked with shrimp at home before, it would be helpful if the intro and/or directions mentioned/featured that the shrimp cook just by sitting in the warm risotto, i.e., that they are never over a flame. You refer (not completely directly) to this in the 'tip' but I think it's essential to the directions.

Jessica D.

I’m glad I read some of the comments before making! I only added in half of the lemon juice and thought it was perfect. The cooking method for the risotto was great and produced excellent results. As well as the cooking of the shrimp, they came out perfect.

Beth M.

OK, weirdly I did not read any of the comments before making this but here are mine - mostly for myself for next time but possibly helpful. Yes, I found it soupier than it should have been but it wasn't bad. That was probably why the lemon didn't overwhelm us. I think next time I will use less broth and a little less lemon juice but frankly the lemon I did not find overpowering. What I did think needed work was that the shrimp needed more flavor. I will season them next time with a garlic, paprika mixture. I'll let that sit for a while while the risotto cooks. I think from the broth perspective I believe had I tasted it the risotto would have been close to done prior to adding the second portion of broth. I will taste at that point next time and only add half of the leftover broth and half of the lemon juice with the newly seasoned shrimp. The technique and lemon flavor is a great idea.

Lisa K.

We made this too and yes, it was super lemony and very soupy and sort of one-dimensional. I used crusty onion-walnut bread to dip in the soup and it was yummy. For leftovers, I added collard/green veggie. I would make this again, but try chicken instead of the shrimp, which looked nice, but for all of the work that goes into the shrimp broth, didn't add to the flavor. And less lemon juice. And maybe a flavorful sausage like andouille or linguisa. And a red bell pepper. :)

Tim S.

I didn't read any of the comments and made this recipe as instructed, fantastic! no too lemony but a very distinct lemon flavor, creamy, great mouth feel...told my wife this is definitely a recipe you could serve company. would add a little pepper next time...maybe some truffle.

Sue B.

We made this tonight and the flavor was great, very lemony - which we like. I did have 1 1/4 cups of the stock left-over. I'm glad I didn't add it all in because the dish would have been soupy. The risotto was cooked perfectly with only 3 3/4 cups of broth. Also, we used parsley instead of basil, it was a nice compliment to the lemon flavor.

Diana L.

I just made this for dinner. The rice flavor was great. I ended up adding only 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (based on reviews). I would agree with Sue that 3 cups and 3/4 is plenty. I have added 2 cups at first cooked it for 10-12 min then added another cup and half and cooked it for 8 min. Then added a little bit more until rice was done. About shrimp.. it had no flavor and it took me more than 8 min to cook. I ended up finishing it on the low on the stove. Next time, I will cook shrimp with seasoning separately then cut it into smaller pieces and add it to risotto. I also thought there was more shrimp than rice.

Paul W.

We made the dish last night with Meyer lemons and really enjoyed it. The only other change to the recipe was that we briefly cooked the shrimp in butter as described in the Milk Street Kuwaiti shrimp and rice. Meyer lemons are more floral and less acidic which may insure a more balanced end product. We’ll make it again!

Andrea N.

I made this the other night and liked it ok. I didn't think it was too lemon-ey, but I thought there was a lack of depth of flavor. It was missing something... I think next time I will brine the shrimp in 1 quart of cold water, 3 TBS kosher salt, and 2 TBS sugar for 15 minutes in the refrigerator to give the shrimp a bit more flavor. 7/10 first time around.

Cathleen R.

I agree with one of the other comments that it was unfortunately one-dimensional. Maybe infuse some of the oil with the basil so the flavor is a little more pervasive? I left out the heavy cream since I’m avoiding dairy, but it was still creamy, just a bit bland, mostly carried by salt and lemon.

Laura L.

LOL...I'm reading the comments while I'm in the midst of making it. Already added ALL the broth so too late for that tip - it's been simmering for 25+ minutes and still waaaay too much liquid. I'll add more gradually next time. Thanks, everyone, for the tip on the lemon juice - I'll add more gradually. And I'll add some pepper too.

Ana W.

Definitely reduce the quantity of lemon juice if you’re making it with regular lemons (not Meyer). Quarter cup lemon juice will totally overpower this risotto! Agree with the comments that, as written, the risotto tastes one-dimensional. From experience, I believe that it’s best finished with butter and Parmesan instead of the prescribed egg yolk and cream - as risotto would traditionally be finished.. Parmesan (a few tablespoons) will add the missing umami.

Gail S.

I did not love this recipe. The traditional way of making risotto ( a la Marcella Hazan) is much better! Too much lemon and too much liquid at one time in this recipe. Disappointing. Flavors not great.

Evelyn S.

This came out REALLY delicious! The texture of the risotto was soupy but we just kept cooking it at a very low temperature until we arrived at our desired consistency. The taste of lemon was fantastic. Next time I'm thinking of adding some hot chili flakes to the broth to add a little kick. LOVE this recipe.

Jennifer B.

I didn't read the comments either and loved the recipe. Not too soupy, not too lemony.

meghan R.

I made this for dinner last night. My biggest adjustment to the recipe was that I doubled the amount of shrimp and rice, correspondingly I doubled everything else except the lemon and basil amounts. I almost always double milkstreet recipes as I cook for two teenage boys in our family of 5. I often complain that recipes are too small. I wonder if anyone else struggles with this complaint when it comes to general recipes as well? After all many families are having 3 kiddos or 4 instead of 2. And multigenerational households are becoming ever more common. As a card carrying member of the sandwich generation I’m cooking for grandparents, and growing children. I don’t even consider doing a recipe as is, unless it says feeds 8 or more. - Ok sorry for my rant. The recipe is a great Friday night dinner, I had to serve an appetizer and salad to stretch it for all of us. But it was lovely and I will be making again, only I will sear the shrimp (perfect cooked shrimp method) before adding to risotto and serve.

Christopher M.

I have cooked this recipe twice, once as written and once doubling. The results were A+ the first time and A the second. The first time the recipe was spot on, but doubling was a bit trickier with cooking times (for each step and the shrimp) and the amount of broth (much less when doubling). The broth was very easy to make and flavorful. Everyone loved this dish - it's a keeper. I served it with a green salad and a warm baguette.

Karla T.

This was an amazing recipe. I halved it as it is just myself and my husband would love to add a side salad or even some green peas to it maybe? We both enjoyed it very much!!