I was having a bit of a crap day today really. Last week's chip-heavy diet was weighing on my conscience as much as my jeans buttons and I had SERIOUS PMS. I felt slightly comforted by the fact that I had this lovely prawn, pepper and pea risotto to look forward to tonight. My stepson had asked me to teach him to make this so that he can make it for his mother when he goes back to visit her this Spring. I'm pretty sure she'll be very proud of how far his culinary skills have come in the past few years. To be completely honest, teaching cookery to a teenager is often nail-on-a-blackboard painful, and I so often want to elbow him to the side and just do it myself (how long can it take a person to dice one onion/de-vein one prawn??!!) But we all started somewhere, and if he can feed himself properly (and take care of his skin) when he goes off to college, then I'll have done my job. I leave 'birds and the bees' conversations to his Dad....
Prawn, Pea and Red Pepper Risotto
Serves 4, takes 30 minutes
200g large prawns (raw, shell-on)
300g arborio risotto rice
600ml homemade free-range chicken stock
1 large glass white wine (plus one to drink)
2 shallots, finely diced
1 small red pepper, finely diced
lg handful frozen peas (or fresh if it's summer)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
chunk of parmesan cheese
half a lemon
small bag wild rocket (arugula) leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
Shell and de-vein the prawns and cut them in half length-wise (basically, when you cut to de-vein, go all the way through.) Put the shells in a small saucepan with the stock and bring to a simmer for five minutes to allow the prawny flavour to infuse the stock. Strain the lot and return to the saucepan over a low heat to keep hot.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 of the tbsp of olive oil and sautee the shallots and garlic until soft-about 5 minutes. Do the same with the red pepper before adding the rice to the pan and stirring through thoroughly to coat in the oil cook for a further couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and stir though, keeping the rice moving until the alcohol has evapourated and the pan is really fragrant. One ladleful at a time, stir in the hot stock, stirring all the while moving to prevent sticking. As each ladleful of liquid is absorbed, add the next until the rice is cooked almost all the way through. Taste/bite test the rice. is it almost done? season and add the prawns and the peas, stir through and cook for a couple more minutes until the prawns are cooked and the peas are warm, but still lovely and bright green. The rice should be 99% cooked but still a tiny bit al dente and a loose consistency. Turn off the heat and cover for a few minutes.
To serve, spoon onto plates and either grate or use a peeler to slice the parmesan over the top. Dress the rocket leaves with the remaining tbsp of olive oil and a big squeeze of lemon juice and a little sea salt. Heap a handful of the rocket leaves on top of the risotto and dig in.