Pretty Dishes


Mock Cookbook Contender: Risotto with Prawns and Asparagus
March 14, 2010, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Mock Cookbook, Recipes

I have already professed my love for risotto, and I think I have found a nice option to make for my mock cookbook. Over the weekend I hosted a risotto night for my in-laws, and one of the risottos featured prawns and asparagus (the other was a divine mushroom and four cheese). It’s not only delicious, it’s also visually appealing, so it is officially a contender. Unfortunately I didn’t get any shots before the dish was finished off this time.

This very standard risotto recipe is modified slightly from a Rachael Ray cookbook.

The Best Basic Risotto

Risotto is best right off the stove. Any toppings should be prepared beforehand or simultaneous to cooking the risotto so they can be stirred in and warmed just before serving. This recipe serves four as a main dish.

4 to 4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine [I use Sauvignon Blanc]
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Simmer the chicken stock in a medium pot and keep warm over low heat.

In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, melt the butter into the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice, stir to coat, and sauté for 2 minutes. Pour in the wine, stirring to incorporate, and let it cook away for 1 to 2 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the warm stock into the rice about 3/4 cup at a time over the next 18 to 20 minutes, stirring it into the rice and watching for the liquid to be just fully absorbed before adding more stock, every 2 to 3 minutes. Taste a few pieces of rice after 16 minutes to check for softness with a hint of chew. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

For prawn and asparagus risotto:

2 tablespoons butter
1 pound uncooked tiger prawns, shelled, deveined, and chopped into pieces
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the prawns and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just pink and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and reserve.

Steam the asparagus until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add to the reserved prawns.

Drain any juices from the prawns and asparagus, then stir them into the cooked risotto with the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

For four cheese and mushroom risotto (adapted from The Silver Spoon):

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
2 ounces fontina, grated
2 ounces Emmenthal or Gruyere, grated
2 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola

Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and browned, about 5 minutes. Reserve.

Stir the mushrooms, fontina, Emmenthal, and Gorgonzola into the cooked risotto with the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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