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Prawn and Zucchini Risotto for Laura

This recipe is for my friend Laura. I told her about this recipe today but then I realised it was one of the recipes I’ve thought up but not actually cooked yet! I’ve played with it a bit in the past and thought about the best way to do it, but not done it yet. I’ve been distracted recently by a sudden failure of my ability to cook rice to a point of anything other than mush. It has annoyed me and led me to cooking rice in all manner of ways to try and find a solution. All have failed so I’ve given up and now use brown rice a lot more.

This is either some sort of subliminal trick my mind is playing on me to tell me to eat more brown rice, or someone’s fucking with me. I suspect the latter. It must be my house mates. They must be sneaking into the kitchen adding water to the pan while I’m not looking, it’s the only explanation.

Anyway this is why no photos. I’ll try and cook it in the next few days and update the recipe with pretty pictures. I was going to cook it tonight but I had green beans that needed eating so I made this amazing green bean, sesame seed, soya sauce tofu recipe. It was awesome! I’ll put that up soon!

Anyway…..risotto. Rice again I know, but I’m feeling confident.

It’s based on the prawn and zucchini pasta recipe  I do but in risotto form. The flavours all work so well with pasta so I know they’ll work in a risotto. The only tricky bit is the best way to cook the zucchini. I’m trying it this way and we’ll see how it goes. I think the trick is to get the prawn and zucchini flavour into the rice as much as possible while it cooks and then finish off with some extra whole cooked prawns and some grilled zucchini with parmesan. I know the zucchini will mush into the risotto if you cook them first but I think we want that. I m not sure about the prawn flavour yet but it will come to me as we go along.

So you’re going to need;

Risotto Rice – aborio or Carnaroli
Onion
Garlic
Courgettes or Zucchini if you’re feeling all australian. Dice them into roughly 1cm sized bits, maybe a touch smaller. I’d say you want 4 diced and 1 zucchini per person left whole. We’ll cook the whole ones differently at the end.
Prawns – choice is yours but tiger prawns or green prawns are good. It will depend on where you are though. Make a quick marinade of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, mix well with the prawns and cover.
Maldon Salt
Pepper freshly ground please. The pre ground stuff is only good for throwing at angry badgers and as you dont see them that often I wouldn’t bother buying it.
Stock – Vege stock is fine. We could make a fish stock with prawn shells but it’s a bit of a faff. If you have the time then by all means do it. It would make the recipe better.
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Fresh Thyme and Parsley
Butter – proper butter please. You can get some great butter now. If you’re in the UK I’d suggest the britteny butter that I know most supermarkets now stock, plus you can get some great local butters from farm shops. In Australia there’s some great organic butters around. I say if you’re going to eat butter then eat the best stuff you can find.

1. ok so finely dice your onions and peel about 4 cloves of garlic. Leave them whole. Get a medium-sized deep sauce pan. Add some olive oil on a medium heat and add the cloves of garlic. Move them around a bit, we want to colour all sides of the garlic to a light golden. Once it gets like this add the onions. Add a pinch of salt and a twist of pepper. Keep these moving around gently for 6-7 mins. We want to turn the heat down a little bit and just let them sweeten and cook down gently. We really need the sugars released in this dish to help the zucchini and prawn flavour develop as it cooks. You get this really nice sweet zucchini prawnnieness. ( I don’t think that’s a real word so I’ve no idea if it’s spelt right, but I do feel it should have 3 N’s in it.)

2. Ok so after 6-7 mins the onions will be a very light brown and nice and soft and slightly caramelised. Turn up the heat slightly and add the diced zucchini and season. Keep these moving around for a bit then let them sit and get some colour then move around again and repeat. We want the zucchini to get some colour on all sides and begin to soften.

Now if everyone had lots of money we could get some awesome massive whole prawns and chuck them in to cook off for a few mins to give some of that flavour in the pan. If you have the cash then try that. If not then get your whatever prawns you’ve managed to buy and cut 1cm from the tail end and put those bits in a pile. Finely dice to almost a mush. Leave the larger bits of prawn in the marinade.

Add the prawn mush to the pan and cook for for 3 mins. Now turn up the heat a touch add the risotto rice and stir well for 1 min. Now add a glass of white wine and stir really well. Keep stirring, this stage is really important to release the starch from the rice. You’ll see a creaminess start to develop. Keep stirring until all the liquid has almost gone then add two ladles of stock and keep stirring. This is a nice little work out for you too. Incidental training at it’s best! Change arms every minuet! Sorry, I think this sports fitness course I’m doing at the moment is having an effect on me. 🙂

Anyway once the stock has reduced down again to almost nothing add another 4 ladles, stir and turn down to a gentle bubble. Keep stirring from time to time just to stop it sticking. Start to be more careful as it gets more cooked so you don’t smush up the rice.

3. So after about 10 mins get your zuhcinni and slice it lengthways. Put in an oven roasting pan and add extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Pop this in the oven on 180°C for about 10 mins, Turn after 5 mins. Give it 5 more minuets, turn again and sprinkle on freshly grated parmesan and some fresh thyme. Pop back in the oven for 5 mins or until the cheese is golden. It will depend on your oven. My oven is crap so it could take anything from 1 minuet to 10 minuets. The temperature control is non-existent to point that you have to use the force just to know how hot it is. I know I could get an oven thermometer but where’s the fun in that?

4. Now check on your risotto and give it a stir. I guess it should be looking good after about 20 mins. Give it a try and see if the rice is cooked. If not add a bit more stock and cook a bit longer. The consistency we want at the point of the rice being almost done is thick, but still with a bit of liquid. We’re going to add parmesan and butter so it will thicken right at the end.

5. So if it’s cooked turn off the heat and take off the hob. Find the four cloves of garlic and mush them up and stir gently. The garlic should be nice and soft and sweet and yummy. Now add a handful of freshly grated parmesan and 3 knobs of butter and a small handful of parsley. Don’t mix in just pop a lid on and put to one side. You’ve got to do this to just let it chill out for a few mins before the final mix. It’s important. A good risotto doesn’t like to be rushed and stressed out.

6. Now get a frying pan on the heat. Get it nice and hot then add the prawns. Don’t add any oil as the oil in the marinade is sufficient. Stir well then add a splash of lemon juice, turning after 2 mins then 1-2 mins on the other side. Depending on the size they should only take a 3-4 mins to cook. As soon as they are just done take off the heat.

7. Take the lid off the risotto and stir in the butter and parmesan. Be very gentle at this point. We want it to still be quite loose so it can spread out evenly on a plate. If you serve it on a plate and it sits in a pile then it’s too thick. It should settle and sit flat. If you think it’s too thick add a touch more stock and stir.

8. Serve on a plate with the prawns and zucchini on top. I’ll leave the presentation up to you.

Finish with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and a few shavings of parmesan.

Sorted.

I think I’ll be tweaking this recipe for a while to get it perfect but I think that’s a pretty good place to start!

Good luck one and all. And may I say, why don’t we all just cook awesome food for each other and share experiences, knowledge and love rather than fucking up our planet and killing each other over money and power. Risotto’s all round, spread the love people!

Much love.

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