Thursday, 25 October 2012

Recipe: easy prawn and pea risotto

When both girls are out and it's just me for dinner, this is the sort of meal I like to make. I've never understood why people think risotto is difficult to make, on the contrary I think it's really easy, it just needs a bit of TLC.

First of all, I had a bit of a root around in the kitchen to see what I had in and as I always have risotto rice in it was just a matter of finding something to put in it. A handful of frozen prawns and peas, a bit of butter, oil and stock and it's suddenly a delicious meal. If you don't fancy prawns a few mushrooms are good in a risotto, or some leftover cooked chicken can be put in. Whatever you fancy!

Prawn and pea risotto

150g arborio or carnaroli rice
a few prawns
some peas
small glass of white wine (optional)
small onion or shallot
one clove of garlic
olive oil
vegetable or chicken stock (about 500ml)
salt and pepper
Serves 2 or one very greedy person

Sorry, some of the amounts are a bit vague, but I just throw in what looks right.

Make up the stock with boiling water and keep on a low light in a pan, it should be hot when added to the risotto.

You need a large shallow pan for this. Melt a knob of butter and a splash of olive oil together in the pan then add the finely chopped onion/shallot. After a minute or so add the garlic, but don't let it brown or it'll taste bitter.

Add the rice to the buttery oil and stir it round until all the grains are covered.

If you're using the wine now is the time to add it. Stir it around a bit until the wine has been absorbed into the rice. Next, start adding the stock a ladle at a time. Make sure each ladleful has been absorbed before adding the next one and keep giving it a good stir from time to time, that's important as it releases the starch which gives risotto that creamy texture.

Don't try to rush a risotto, you'll only get the best results if you add the stock a bit at a time and stir it over a low light. If you cook it on a high flame the stock will evaporate and the rice won't be cooked. Just relax...and gently does it...

It'll take about 20-25 minutes before all the stock is absorbed but again, play it by ear (or taste). You may not need to add all the stock, then again it might need it all. Taste when the grains are starting to look fat but the liquid is a bit creamy. The rice should have a bite to it.

About 2-3 minutes before the end, add the prawns and peas. If you like, add another knob of butter and stir into the hot rice for extra creaminess. Add parmesan if you like it. I don't, so I didn't! Season to taste.

That's it! Serve and enjoy.