Prawn and Pea Risotto with Basil and Mint

For me this risotto really works because of the natural sweetness you get in peas and prawns. With a little help from some delicate herbs it will put a smile on your face. Remember not to use any Parmesan in your basic recipe – not good with fish.
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  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

3 good handfuls peas, podded (keep pods on one side)

1 cup stock or water

1 basic risotto recipe, recipe follows

1 pound raw prawns, peeled

1 handful basil, chopped

1/2 handful mint, chopped

1 lemon, juiced

Basic Risotto:

Approximately 2 pints stock (chicken, fish or vegetable as appropriate)

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 shallots or 2 medium onions finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 head celery, finely chopped

14 ounces arborio rice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 wine glasses dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine

2 1/2 ounces butter

3 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan, omit for any fish-based risottos

Directions

  1. Cook peas in boiling stock or water. Don't waste pods, you can place them in the stock after the peas are cooked to infuse their fantastic delicate flavor. Use this stock as part of the stock/water for the risotto. At the end of Stage 3 in the basic risotto recipe, add the prawns and peas and simmer for 1 minute as prawns take no time to cook. At Stage 4 of the risotto recipe throw in the fresh herbs and squeeze the lemon juice. Stir and serve immediately. Drizzle with good peppery olive oil.;

Basic Risotto:

  1. Stage 1. Heat stock. In a separate pan heat the olive oil, add the shallots or onion, garlic and celery and slowly fry for about 3 minutes. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice, season with salt and pepper and turn up the heat. Stage 2. The rice will now begin to fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent having absorbed all the flavors from the vegetables. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring -- it will smell fantastic as it sizzles around the rice. Any harsh alcohol flavors will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence. Stage 3. Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a highish simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladles of stock, stirring and allowing each ladle of liquid to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice -- is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don't forget to carefully check the seasoning. Stage 4. Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan, if using. Stir gently. Place lid on pan and allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes. This is the most important part of making the risotto as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat as soon as possible while the risotto retains its perfect texture.
  2. Yield: 6 servings

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