Beer Risotto wins national cooking challenge

National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) Cooking with Beer Challenge, the judges named a winner. Linda Rohr, a 53-year-old publicist and project manager from Darien, Connecticut, was won first place in the National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) Cooking with Beer Challenge, earning her a trip to Cancun for two for her “Quick and Easy White Beer-Seafood ‘Risotto’ with Fresh Herbs.”

Rohr’s recipe, a quick and easy risotto-like dish made with orzo pasta, scallops and shrimp was praised by judges for its ease of preparation, versatile serving options and outstanding flavor. Unique to the recipe is the addition of a bottle of white beer, which is used to steam the seafood. Taking second place and a cash prize of $1,000 was Emil Topel, 36, a chef from Phenix City, Alabama for his “Lager-Steamed Thai Turkey and Shiitake Dumplings with Pale Ale Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce.”

Ten finalists from around the country were chosen from hundreds who submitted recipes featuring beer. Beer was the only required ingredient in the recipes, and contestants were allowed to enter any type of dish in the contest.

Quick and Easy Seafood “Risotto” With Fresh Herbs
Serves 6

1    12-ounce bottle White Beer
½ cup   fish stock
12 large   scallops, halved
12 large   shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 TBS   olive oil
1 cup    thinly sliced shallots
4 cloves   garlic, minced
1 (5.4 ounce) pkg   Boursin-style herb and garlic flavored cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup   julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
3 cups   hot cooked orzo
2 cups   baby arugula
¼ cup   freshly snipped basil, divided
2 TBS   minced cilantro, divided
2 TBS   freshly snipped dill, divided
¼ tsp   freshly ground pepper
1 tsp   smoked sea salt or kosher salt
2 TBS   olive oil
¼ cup   freshly shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish

Place white beer and fish stock in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add seafood and cook just 2-3 minutes or until just opaque. Remove seafood with slotted spoon and set aside. Increase heat; bring liquid to a boil, reducing by half.

Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, sauté shallots in olive oil until caramelized. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in cheese, sun dried tomatoes, beer and stock reduction, orzo and seafood. Heat through. Stir in arugula, fresh herbs (reserving 1 tsp of each for garnish). Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Divide among six plates. Garnish with more fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese.

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