Prawn and Mushroom risotto

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Patience and time is required when making risotto. One has to really love risotto to make it and love it even more to master it. It was the nemesis of many a Masterchef contestant and yet every year there was always a willing contestant willing to bet their ticket on it. When Sarah was younger and still living at home she would always order it when we went to Two Dogs Restaurant. Oliver was the only chef I knew in East London at the time who mastered it. It was rich and creamy and had the perfect bite to the arborio rice that made it not mushy and not hard, just perfectly firm and chewy. His balance of flavours was always right. I’ve had restaurants serving boiled rice mixed with peas and calling it risotto. I’ve learned over many years to bite my tongue and just not order it again in that restaurant. You have to know this is not in my nature! I really hate it when restaurants do this and I usually feel the need to be the one to let them know they can’t pass something off as the real deal when it is clearly not. Pretentious people can be annoying too and I can come across as that if you don’t know me. I want people to experience what risotto really should taste like before they decide it’s not good. When they get it in a restuarant that should know better and doesn’t this makes me mad.

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Prawn and Mushroom Risotto

So if you too have battled to find the perfect risotto, may I suggest you give my recipe a try. I have created a photo friendly gallery with step by step instructions that will help you make the perfect risotto every time. You can substitute chicken if you don’t eat prawns. You can add asparagus too instead of mushrooms. If you follow the steps you will enjoy a delicious risotto every time. It is best eaten on the day.

Arborio rice is the perfect rice for risotto. It’s from the town with the same name in the Po Valley Piedmont region in Italy. This short grain rice, with its high content of amylopectin starch, has the ability to absorb large quantities of moisture. This makes it creamy and firm without breaking it down into a mooshy mush.

Prawn Stock

Ingredients

  • prawn shells and heads from 800g prawns
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot roughly chopped
  • 2 celery sticks roughly chopped
  • 2L water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring up to the boil and then turn down heat for 20 – 30 minutes. Switch off stove and leave to insensify for 1 hour. When ready to use bring back to temperature, strain and use as reqired

Prawn and Mushroom risotto

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 500 g Arborio Rice
  • 800 g Prawns grilled on the braai or pan fried 3 minutes a side remove and reserve shells and heads for stock. I like to keep some prawns with their heads on for garnish
  • 35 g butter
  • 3 Tbls olive oil
  • 10 g cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 L homemade prawn stock see recipe above
  • 4 spring onions (80g)
  • 140 g onion finely chopped
  • 400 ml white wine
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 2 Tbls lemon juice
  • 10g red chilli
  • 15 g fresh sage leaves and butter
  • 250 g portabellini mushrooms (or button) sliced plus 2 Tbls extra olive oil
  • 50 g parmesan cheese
  • 50 ml cream

Instructions

  • Make stock according the my recipe above
  • Gather all the ingredients together befor you start
  • Heat the oil in a pan with 10g butter. Add onions and stir for 2 minutes. Add spring onions and stir for a further 2 minutes
  • Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute
  • Add the wine and simmer for 3 minutes
  • Now add the arborio rice and stir into onion mix and simmer for 2 minutes
  • Add 2 cups of prawn stock and simmer for 5 minutes gently. The stock will be absorbed into the rice
  • add 1 cup of prawn stock and simmer for 3 miunutes repeat and further 2 times. You should use about 5-6 cups of stock to get the desired chewyness on the risotto. You will notice the rice starting to thicken and get bigger as it absorbs the stock. I recommend you taste as you go so that you know when its ready.
  • While you are adding the stock to the arborio rice and waiting for it to be absorbed you can get on with the mushrooms
  • Add the extra 2 Tbls olive oil to a hot pan. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook until brown and all the water from the mushrooms has evaporated. Set aside until ready to add to the risotto
  • When all the stock is absorbed into the rice check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Add the lemon zest and juice to rice
  • Add the cooked mushrooms
  • In the same pan used for the mushrooms add the rest of the butter (25g) and the sage. Cook until sage crips up and the butter is nutty brown. Set aside to garnish the risotto with when ready to serve
  • Add the grilled prawns to the risotto and reserve a few to add on top of the risotto when serving
  • Add grated parmesan cheese
  • Add cream stir into risotto
  • Pour in the nutty butter and half the crispy sage
  • Serve a ladel of risotto into a bowl, top with prawns, crispy sage and fresh chilli
  • Enjoy with a nice glass of chardonnay in front of a fire
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: mushrooms, Prawns, Risotto

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