1 litre fish, vegetable or chicken stock
70ml olive oil
3 dozen shelled raw prawns
3 asparagus spears, thinly sliced
small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
300gm arborio rice
1 cup white wine
handful of parsley, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
half a cup good quality pecorino or similar, finely grated
Salt and pepper
1. Heat the stock in a saucepan to just below boiling point, keep it hot.
2. In a separate large, heavy based saucepan, heat 20 ml of the butter and a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the prawns and keep them moving about as they lose their translucency and become pink.
3. As prawns start to brown a little, add the sliced asparagus and stir to prevent everything sticking, maybe 2 minutes. Set aside.
4. Add the rest of the olive oil and half the remaining butter, then sauté the oil and garlic for 4-5 minutes.
5. Add the rice and stir well to coat and toast the grains, maybe 3-4 minutes.
6. Add the wine, allow the alcohol to cook off and the rice to absorb the liquid.
7. Start adding hot stock, a ladleful at a time, reduce the heat to medium but high enough to keep the mixture gently bubbling.
8. Keep adding a ladleful of hot stock to keep the mixture soupy, don’t let it thicken up as the rice absorbs the stock.
9. After maybe 10 minutes add the prawns and asparagus, stirring regularly to prevent sticking. Don’t let the rice go off the gentle boil and add stock to keep it runny.
10. After another 5 minutes or so, the rice should be noticeably plump but still firm to the bite.
11. Remove from the heat, stir through the remaining butter, cheese, lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste
12. Serve in a bowl.
Serves three, adjust ingredients acoordingly for more or less people.
Keep the stock hot so it doesn’t cool the rice as you add it, ideally the rice should keep bubbling gently.
When you take the rice off the heat, residual heat will keep the rice cooking, so don’t be afraid to take it off before it’s completely cooked.
The aim is to serve it quite runny and soupy. It will thicken up a bit more in the bowl, so you don’t want it too solid when it’s served.
It might seem odd to add cheese to a prawn dish but it definitely helps the consistency and flavour of the risotto.
Other vegetables can be substituted for the asparagus. Peas work well and can be added from frozen when you add the prawns (you might need to raise the heat a little to keep the risotto bubbling). Baby spinach leaves or rocket is also good, stirred through when you add the butter and cheese.
It’s not necessary to stir the risotto constantly – just enough to stop it sticking to the pot.