I feel like there’s sometimes a misconception around risotto being a heavy, wintery dish. But I think it’s more about what we put into it; many of us will add in too much rice, drowning out the other ingredients, or serve it with sides of garlic bread – though who am I to turn down bread, in any form?
When I go to a proper italian restaurant and order a risotto, often I look at it and will think, ‘that looks a bit small’… but by the end, I’m always sufficiently full, not over full.
When I make a risotto, I always try to go big on the veg and serve it with a light salad – you can rarely go wrong with a traditional rocket and parmesan salad, with a drizzle of olive oil.
This Asparagus and Prawn Risotto is lifted by the zest of lemon and the crunch of fresh fennel. I probably add in too many prawns than required, but I like prawns and there’s nothing worse than ordering a prawn risotto and getting four or five small ones, hidden by mountains of rice. I drop the asparagus in at the last minute too, so it keeps its bite and then top it with fresh parsley and a squeeze of extra lemon.
140g risotto rice
1 pack of raw king prawns (roughly 165g)
100ml white wine
1 large stalk of celery, finely sliced
1/2 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
100g asparagus, chopped into 2 inch pieces
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1 fish or chicken stock cube, dissolved in 1 pint of boiling water
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
Fennel and rocket salad
1 small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (roughly 100g)
1 tbsp olive oil
- In a large pan, add a tbsp of oil, followed by the finely diced onion and celery. Sweat for 1-2 minutes and then add the garlic
- Now add your rice and fry lightly for a minute, before adding the white wine
- Lightly simmer this for a further minute, to cook out the alcohol and then add in your stock, a bit at a time, stirring as you do
- Continue to add your stock slowly, and once you’ve used up 2/3 of it, add in the chopped asparagus, followed by the rest of the stock
- While the rice still has some bite, (about 3 minutes before serving) add in the prawns, so that they cook through
- You can now add in the zest and juice of 1/2 lemon (save the other half to squeeze over afterwards), as well as the 20g of butter and 20g of parmesan
- Season well, top with fresh parsley and serve with a wedge of lemon and the fennel and rocket salad – make this by combining the rocket and sliced fennel, and drizzling with olive oil