Prawn risotto

Prawn risotto

Risotto di gamberi

By
From
Venice
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

At Trattoria La Madonna they are well known for their seafood risotto. I remember years ago they used to ring a huge ship’s bell when it was served and everyone flooded into the restaurant to have the risotto. The locals would know to arrive ten minutes before, get seated, have a drink and wait for the sound of the bell. Teams of waiters rushed between the huge cooking pot and the tables. Nowadays the bell has gone but they still serve it at particular times to ensure it is at peak condition when it arrives at the table – you wait for the risotto, it doesn’t wait for you. The seafood risotto, their signature dish, is really creamy and made buttery with a little Parmesan. Seafood is mixed with a light stock on a base of celery and onion, no carrots, as it would spoil the colour.

The base is made from gently frying onions and celery including the leaves, which have so much flavour. Do try and find prawns that are raw, they will probably have been frozen and that’s fine but you need the shells and heads for the stock or the flavour just won’t be the same.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
650g raw medium prawns, shells on
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
300g carnaroli or other risotto rice
50ml white wine
1.2 litres Seafood stock
30g parmesan, finely grated

Method

  1. Peel the prawns and make a stock from their heads and shells. If the prawns are large cut them into bite-size pieces. Place in a bowl and reserve in the fridge for later.
  2. Ladle in around 500 ml of the hot stock and mix quickly into the rice. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon and when the risotto thickens to the point where you can see the bottom of the pan when you draw the spoon across the bottom add another ladleful of stock. Continue adding stock each time the risotto thickens back up.
  3. After about 20 minutes taste the risotto to see whether it is done. The rice grains should be just translucent through the grain. They should feel soft on the outside with a hint of firmness in the centre. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Remove the pan from the heat. Leave it slightly soupy as this liquid will continue to be absorbed over the following few minutes.
  4. Add the prawns halfway through cooking the rice. Serve in warm bowls.
Tags:
Venice
Giancarlo
Katie
Caldesi
Venetian
Italian
European
Mediterranean
Italy
Europe
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