Red risotto with prawns and cherry tomatoes

I tasted this dish first in an Italian restaurant and I have to admit, it was love at first sight! I knew I was going to have to find this recipe and finally get myself to make risottos.Prawn and tomato risotto with celery Luckily there are many different ways to make a red risotto, so after looking at a thousand recipes and testing it in the restaurant once more, I thought I would be ready to create my own prawn risotto with cherry tomatoes and rocker salad. I wouldn’t say I am a huge risotto expert now, and it might not be the easiest thing to cook, but it is also heavily over-mystified. A lot of people don’t even dare to start  because they are too scared of making it too mushy or under-cooked, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it! If you have three simple things right you can’t miss it.

My tips are:

  • Use real risotto rice, you will never get the right texture from any other type of rice.
  • Stick to the right proportions of water and rice.
  • Keep on tasting it while cooking so that you make sure it is al dente before you leave it to rest. So when you turn off the fire the rice will still have a little bite.
  • However, the most important is that you should never be afraid to screw up! It is part of getting to your perfect risotto:)

Tomato and prawn risotto

White risottos can have a little heavy and greasy feel, but the tomato base gives this risotto a fresh and light taste. With the crunchy garlicky prawns this dish brings me back to our family holidays on the seaside. When I pour the wine on the rice and the wonderful smell covers the kitchen I feel like I could just look out the window and see the sunny bay.

Ingredients (makes four to five servings):

  • 2+2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic (finely chopped)
  • 20-25 raw prawns (250g)
  • 30g butter
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 celery stalks (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 320g risotto rice
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1200ml vegetable stock
  • 50g grated parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • chili flakes, freshly ground black pepper
  • a handful of fresh basil coarsely chopped
  • 50-60g rocket salad
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • olive oil to drizzle

If you are using frozen prawns, then put them in a bowl of water for a few minutes to defrost, clean them (take off the shells) except for the tails. Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non stick pan (big enough to cook the risotto as well), add garlic and the prawns (if they don’t fit next to each other then fry them in two goes). 2 minutes for both sides is enough to get them perfectly fried and crispy. In the meantime heat up the vegetable stock. Take the prawns out of the pan (the oil and garlic can stay), add the butter and the rest of the oil. When the butter melted add onion and celery, saute for 2 minutes, add tomato paste, mix with rice and wine and wait until most of it gets soaked up. Set the fire low/medium and gradually keep adding the stock (around 100ml at a time), wait until it gets soaked up and keep mixing it frequently. When all the stock is added take it off the fire, mix in salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, basil, cherry tomatoes and the prawns. Cover the pan and let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve it with rocket salad on top and sprinkle with grated parmesan and olive oil.

Risotto with prawns, tomato and celery

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