After having mastered bulk grocery shopping, I decided to have a go at cooking fresh prawns instead of the frozen, over-packaged version that I usual buy. This is the story of how I came to buy prawns at the fishmonger’s for the first time at the age of 25!
Before I left home, I slipped a big plastic box into my otherwise empty backpack. I handed it over to the fishmonger just before he weighed and wrapped the prawns in cellophane, thus earning a slightly astonished look from the nice lady at the till as well as the fishmonger himself. Still, nobody complained and I retrieved my reusable container filled to the brim with pinkly fresh prawns. Just like that, one less piece of plastic headed to the incinerator! And I like to think I did the produce justice with this tasty risotto.
Pink prawn risotto recipe
5 normal-sized portions, or 4 generous ones
Prep time: 1h15
- 500g of whole fresh prawns
- White and light green parts of 2 leeks, chopped
- Half a glass of red wine
- 2 vegetable stock cubes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 pieces of fresh garlic, chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 300g of Arborio rice
- A handful of fresh parsley
- Grated parmesan, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 organic lemon
- Start by shelling and deveining the prawns. I suggest you keep the heads and tails in the freezer to make flavourful stock for your next risotto!
- Heat about 1,5L of water in a pot on medium heat along with the stock cubes and bay leaves.
- While you wait, gently fry the shallots and garlic in some olive oil on medium heat in a big, deep frying pan.
- When the shallots are cooked, add another glug of olive oil along with the Arborio rice. Give the whole thing a stir and let the rice brown a bit, about 2 minutes.
- Add the red wine to the pan. The rice will turn burgundy but the colour will get lighter as the rice cooks. Stir it all up with a spatula.
- Once the wine has been absorbed, add a ladle of stock. From now on, it is very important to watch the risotto closely so it cooks properly. It needs to be stirred almost constantly.
- Bring the stock to a boil and add the prawns. Let them cook for 3minutes then remove them with a slotted spoon without throwing out the stock.
- Add another ladle of stock to the risotto and keep on stirring. Repeat until the rice is cooked through or you run out of stock. You might need to add some hot water to stretch the stock a bit. This step will last about 15min.
- While watching and regularly stirring the risotto, zest and juice the lemon and wash and chop the parsley.
- In another frying pan, fry the leeks on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes, until they are cooked through.
- Once the risotto is fully cooked, add the prawns, leeks, lemon zest, parsley and parmesan. Stir and leave on the stove for 2minutes to heat it all up.
- Serve with one or two prawns on top, as well as some parsley and extra cheese. Add a splash of lemon juice and a generous turn of the pepper grind. Then dig in while it’s nice and hot!