I like to buy the prawns with the shells on because you can use these to make a quick prawn stock that adds all the flavor to this risotto. If you don’t like shelling prawns or that whole part seems scary and like something that should go in the too hard basket. You can just use water or more chicken stock instead. The prawn flavor will be much more subtle if you do that though. You could also buy a shellfish stock but that’s so expensive and doing it this way is, well it’s basically free.
Apparently you’re not meant to put cheese with seafood pastas and risottos but parmesan is more than just cheese it’s got depth and that umami rich flavor and I love a little parmesan in this pasta. You can leave it out if you want to be a purist but I’m not going to follow the rules on this one, because I’m going to make the food I eat how I like it.
I sometimes drizzle a little garlic and parsley butter over this at the end. This is naughty and not so healthy but it probably equates to ½ tsp of butter per serve and really that’s not so bad. Plus it’s like a garlicky flavor bomb and the smell is amazing! I figure having a little garlic butter drizzled over my pea and prawns risotto is better for me than actually eating garlic bread so give me a break. But this is optional – it’s delicious without it too.
Don’t skip the lemon though. The lemon is completely non-negotiable. It brings zingy freshness to this risotto that both the prawns and peas love.
2 cups aborio rice
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup spring onion, finely slice (or use half an onion, finely chopped if fructose isn’t an issue)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
200 ml dry white wine
1 litre chicken stock
600g banana prawns, remove shells, heads and clean after weighing and reserve shells for later use
2 cups peas
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 cup parmesan, freshly grated
Make sure all your prawns are clean and have the shells removed. Place a medium sized pot on medium high heat and add the reserved prawn shells. Brown for a couple of minutes and then add water to cover. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve liquid.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy based fry pan. Add onion and fry for a minute, add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add rice and toast lightly for a further minute. Pour in wine and simmer until almost absorbed. At this point start adding stock. Turn down the heat down to low and stir frequently while adding more stock as it is absorbed. Alternate with the reserved liquid from the prawn shells. If you need more liquid, simply add water.
After approximately 25 minutes of cooking the rice should be just before the al dente stage. Still with a little more bite than you would prefer to eat. At this point add your prepared prawns and along with a ladle of stock. Cook for 5-10 minutes until prawns are just cooked and rice is al dente. Turn off the heat and stir through the peas, 2/3 of the parsley, the lemon juice and 2/3 of the lemon zest.
Serve with the remaining lemon zest and parsley sprinkled over the top.
Feeling indulgent? Slowly fry off some crushed garlic, a little finely chopped parsley in a tablespoon of butter at a low heat and drizzle this over when you serve.