Prawn and Asparagus Risotto

This is an easy meal for a mid-week dinner or when it’s really cold out side and you need some comfort food. I don’t add any cheese or cream to the risotto while cooking it, so it’s quite a light version. It’s also relatively cheap to prepare and other than the prawns (which you can buy frozen and stash away) you don’t really need to go out and buy anything special. Serve it with herb bread sticks and you’ve got an awesome dinner. I use asparagus and spinach in this version, but that’s optional and you can do without.

You’ll need (for 4 serves)

  • 2 cups of arborio rice
  • 200 grams of raw peeled prawns
  • 1 bunch of aspargus
  • a handful of baby spinach leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 french shallots (optional)
  • 2 litres of water or chicken stock + chicken stock granules (if using water)
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Chilli flakes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley (or I use 1 teaspoon of Gourmet Garden Italian Herb Blend)

Set the water or stock boiling in a pot. If using water, follow instructions for making stock out of the granules.
Snap the aspargus to remove the woody ends. Add the woody ends to the stock. Cut one garlic clove and one french shallot in half (leave the skins on) – add these to the stock as well. Leave the stock boiling on a low flame throughout the process – you don’t want to add cold stock to the risotto, as it’ll drop the temperature of the rice and will never cook!

Slice the asparagus tips finely at a diagonal. Slice 2 garlic cloves and 1 french shallot finely.

Slice the back of the prawn, don’t go all the way. You just want to butterfly the prawns and open them up.
Heat some butter in a pan, and fry the prawns. It’s okay if they burn and brown a little. That adds to the flavour. Flip the prawns over and cook through. Remove the prawns in a bowl (to save the juices).

To the butter and any burnt bits, add some olive oil. Add the asparagus, garlic and shallot and fry well on low heat until the garlic browns.

Once the garlic is golden, add the rice. Fry the rice until all the oil and butter is absorbed by the rice. You should see the tips of the rice grains go transparent. There will only be a little white left in the middle. At this stage, add one ladle-full of stock to the rice. Stir until all the liquid is absorbed.

Add another ladle full, repeat. When the rice is half cooked, you can start adding more stock, up it to 2 ladles at a time, and stir well on low heat. Keep stirring as that breaks down the starch in the rice and makes the risotto creamy. Add the prawns back and any of the juices that has gathered in the bowl.

Once the rice is soft and cooked, add all the stock, and give it one last stirring, when the stock evaporate to a consistency you like, remove from the pan from heat. Add a knob of butter, herbs, handful of baby spinach leaves. Stir well. Check for salt, add more if you need (stock is usually salty, so just be careful)

Serve in a bowl, sprinkle some chilli flakes and grated parmesan on top. A swirl of olive oil and some freshly cracked pepper completes it. Enjoy!

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