Lemon Risotto with Prawns
Any serious Italian will say you’re not supposed to mix cheese with seafood. Why not? I like cheese. And I like seafood. Hence, cheesy seafood – I like! I’m not a big fan of hard core rules about eating. Each to their own really. If you like your marmite with peanut butter, I will think you are crazy but I won’t cry about it. I definitely won’t tell you that you must never mix the two together (you won’t be able to at my place anyway as there is no place for marmite in my home).
Risotto is one of my faves. I love cooking it, eating it, smelling it, and feeling its warmth through the bowl. It is so comforting, especially on dull, dark and rainy days. It’s Indian equivalent is the Khichri which I also love very much. Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Lemon Risotto is super rich and yummy. I usually skip the egg as I am not too keen on the smell, and whack in a red chilli for colour and some heat.
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
60g unsalted butter
1tbsp olive oil
300g risotto rice (Arborio or Vialone Nano)
1L veggie stock (I used oxo cubes but I prefer bouillon powder)
1 red chilli, medium sized and sliced thin
Zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
Needles of 2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
4 tbsp grated parmesan, and some more to sprinkle
60ml double cream
1 egg, yolk
180g raw jumbo prawns (or little ones)
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground cracked white pepper (or black)
Put the shallots and celery into a blender and blitz until they turn into finely chopped mush. Heat half the butter, the oil and the shallot and celery mixture in a wide saucepan, and cook to soften the mixture for about 5 minutes making sure it doesn’t catch. Mix in the rice, stirring to give it a good coating of oil and butter. Meanwhile, heat the stock in another saucepan and keep it at simmering point.
Pour in a ladle full of the stock into the rice and keep stirring until the stock is absorbed. Then add another ladle full and stir again, continue doing this until the rice is al dente. You may not need all of the stock, equally, you may need to add hot water from the kettle. Add in the sliced red chilli and stir well.
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the prawns for 4 minutes, flipping them occasionally to cook evenly on both sides.
Mix the lemon zest and the rosemary into the risotto, and in a small bowl beat the egg yolk with the lemon juice, parmesan, cream and pepper.
The risotto is ready when the rice is no longer chalky but still has some bite. Take it off the heat and add the bowl of lemon-cream mixture and prawns, and the remaining butter and salt to taste. Serve with more grated Parmesan if you wish, and give it another crack of pepper.
This recipe is so versatile. You can just use peas instead of prawns or both, or add asparagus.