Thursday, December 25, 2008

Risotto with Prawns

This prawn risotto is given a soft pink color by the addition of a little tomato puree. Recipe serves 3-4.


12 ounces (375 g) large raw prawns, in the shells
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1-2 fresh parsley sprigs
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
5 tablespoons butter
2 spring onions (shallots), finely chopped
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
1 tablespoon tomato puree softened in 1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Put the prawns in a large saucepan and add the water, herbs, peppercorns and garlic. Bring to the boil over a medium heat. As soon as the prawns turn pink, lift them out, peel them and return the shells to the saucepan. Boil the stock with the shells for 10 minutes more, then strain. Return the stock to the clean pan, and simmer gently until needed.
2. Slice the prawns in half lengthwise, removing the dark vein along the back. Set four halves aside for the garnish, and roughly chop the rest.
3. Heat two-thirds of the butter in a flameproof casserole and fry the spring onions until golden. Add the rice, mixing well to coat it with butter. Pour in the tomato puree and wine and cook until it has been absorbed. Add the simmering stock, a large spoonful at a time, allowing it to be absorbed before adding more.
4. When all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is creamy, stir in the chopped prawns, the remaining butter and seasoning. Cover and let the risotto rest for 3-4 minutes. Spoon into a bowl, garnish with the reserved prawns and serve.

Fried Rice Balls Stuffed with Mozzarella

These deep-fried balls of risotto go by the name of Suppli al Telefono in their native Italy. Stuffed with Mozzarella cheese, they are very popular snacks, which is hardly surprising as they are quite delicious. Recipe serves 4.


1 quantity Risotto with Parmesan Cheese or Mushroom Risotto
3 eggs
Breadcrumbs and all-purpose (plain) flour, to coat
2/3 cup Mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
Oil, for deep-frying
Dressed curly endive and cherry tomatoes, to serve


1. Put the risotto in a bowl and allow it to cool completely. Beat two of the eggs, and stir them into the cold risotto until well mixed.
2. Use your hands to form the rice mixture into balls the size of a large egg. If the mixture is too moist to hold its shape well, stir in a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs. Poke a hole into the center of each ball with your finger, then fill it with a few small cubes of Mozzarella, and close the hole over again with the rice mixture.
3. Heat the oil for deep-frying until a small piece of bread sizzles as soon as it is dropped in.
4. Spread some flour on a plate. Beat the remaining egg in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle another plate with breadcrumbs. Roll the balls in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs.
5. Fry them a few at a time in the hot oil until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper while the remaining balls are being fried. Serve hot, with a simple salad of dressed curly endive leaves and cherry tomatoes.

Tip: These provide the perfect solution as to what to do with leftover risotto, as they are best made with a cold mixture, cooked the day before.

Mussel Risotto

Fresh root ginger and coriander add a distinctive flavor to this dish, while the green chilies give it a little heat. The chilies could be omitted for a milder dish. Recipe serves 3-4.


2 pound (1 kg) fresh mussels
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 fresh green chilies, seeded and finely sliced
1 inch (2.5 cm) piece of fresh root ginger, grated
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
3 3/4 cups simmering fish stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
2 tablespoons double (thickened) cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Scrub the mussels, discarding any that do not close when sharply tapped. Place in a large saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of the wine and bring to the boil. Cover the pan and cook the mussels for 4-5 minutes until they have opened, shaking the pan occasionally. Drain, reserving the liquid and discarding any mussels that have not opened. Remove most of the mussels from their shells, reserving a few in their shells for decoration. Strain the mussel liquid.
2. Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the chilies. Continue to cook over a low heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, then stir in the ginger and fry gently for 1 minute more.
3. Add the rice and cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring, until the rice is coated in oil and becomes translucent.
4. Stir in the reserved cooking liquid from the mussels. When this has been absorbed, add the remaining wine and cook stirring, until this has also been absorbed. Now add the hot fish stock, a little at a time, making sure each addition has been absorbed before adding the next.
5. When the rice is about three-quarters cooked, stir in the mussels. Add the coriander and season with salt and pepper. Continue adding stock to the risotto until it is creamy and the rice is tender but slightly firm in the center.
6. Remove the risotto from the heat, stir in the cream, cover and leave to rest for a few minutes. Spoon into a warmed serving dish, decorate with the reserved mussels in their shells, and serve immediately.

Squid Risotto with Chili and Coriander

Squid needs to be cooked either very quickly or very slowly. Here the squid is marinated in lime and kiwi fruit - a popular method in New Zealand for tenderizing squid. Recipe serves 3-4.


1 pound (500 g) squid
3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
1/2 ounce (15 g) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely sliced
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups simmering fish stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Marinade:
2 ripe kiwi fruit, chopped and mashed
1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


1. If not already cleaned, prepare the squid by cutting off the tentacles at the base and pulling to remove the quill. Discard the quill and intestines, if necessary, and pull away the thin outer skin. Rinse the body and cut into thin strips; cut the tentacles into short pieces, discarding the beak and eyes.
2. Mash the kiwi fruit for the marinade in a bowl, then stir in the chili and lime juice. Add the squid, stirring to coat all the strips in the mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, cover with clear film and set aside in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
3. Drain the squid. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the strips, in batches if necessary, for about 30-60 seconds over a high heat. It is important that the squid cooks very quickly. Transfer the cooked squid to a plate and set aside. Do not worry if some of the marinade clings to the squid, but if too much juice accumulates in the pan, pour this into a jug and add more olive oil when cooking the next batch, so that the squid fries rather than simmers. Reserve the accumulated juices in a jug.
4. Heat the remaining oil with the butter in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic for 5-6 minutes until soft. Add the sliced chili to the saucepan and fry for 1 minute more.
5. Add the rice. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the rice is coated with oil and is slightly translucent, then stir in the wine until it has been absorbed.
6. Gradually add the hot stock and the reserved cooking liquid from the squid, a large spoonful at a time, stirring the rice constantly and waiting until each quantity of stock has been absorbed before adding the next.
7. When the rice is about three-quarters cooked, stir in the squid and continue cooking the risotto until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender, but retains a bit of "bite". Stir in the chopped coriander, cover with the lid or a dish towel, and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Tip: Although fish stock underlines the flavor of the squid, a light chicken or vegetable stock would also work well in this recipe.

Best Italian Rice and Risotto Recipes

In Italy, especially in the north, rice is more than just a useful accompaniment to meat and fish. Risottos are one of the few rice dishes that are entirely native to Europe, and, like the rice eaten in the the east, the rice here is loved for its own merits. Other ingredients are added for flavor, but the true star of the risotto is the rice itself.

Apple and Lemon Risotto with Poached Plums
Brown Rice Risotto with Mushrooms and Parmesan
Champagne Risotto
Chicken Liver Risotto
Chocolate Risotto
Crab Risotto
Duck Risotto
Fried Rice Balls Stuffed with Mozzarella
Green Risotto
Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto
Leek and Ham Risotto
Leek Mushroom and Lemon Risotto
Lemon and Herb Risotto Cake
Monk Fish Risotto
Mushroom Risotto
Mussel Risotto
Pancetta and Broad Bean Risotto
Pesto Risotto
Porcini and Parmesan Risotto
Pumpkin and Apple Risotto
Pumpkin and Pistachio Risotto
Quick Risotto
Rabbit and Lemon Grass Risotto
Risi e Bisi
Risotto alla Milanese
Risotto Frittata
Risotto-Stuffed Eggplant with Spicy Tomato Sauce
Risotto with Asparagus
Risotto with Bacon, Baby Zucchini and Peppers
Risotto with Chicken
Risotto with Four Cheeses
Risotto with Four Vegetables
Risotto with Parmesan
Risotto with Prawns
Risotto with Ricotta and Basil
Risotto with Smoked Bacon and Tomato
Roasted Pepper Risotto
Rosemary Risotto with Borlotti Beans
Salmon Risotto with Cucumber and Tarragon
Scallop Risotto
Seafood Risotto
Shellfish Risotto with Mixed Mushrooms
Spinach and Rice Soup
Squid Risotto with Chili and Coriander
Stuffed Chicken Rolls
Timballo of Rice with Peas
Trout and Parma Ham Risotto Rolls
Truffle and Lobster Risotto
Two Cheese Risotto