Prawn And Asparagus Risotto

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.

Ingredients:

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
20g butter
20g parmesan
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper

Fennel and rocket salad

1 small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (roughly 100g)
20g rocket
1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. 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
  2. Now add your rice and fry lightly for a minute, before adding the white wine
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. While the rice still has some bite, (about 3 minutes before serving) add in the prawns, so that they cook through
  6. 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
  7. 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
I like to mix the salad in with my risotto, as the pepperiness of the rocket and crunch of the fennel works really well with the other flavours and textures in the dish.

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