Fennel and prawn risotto
- September 2015
- 250g sustainable raw, unpeeled prawns
- 300ml dry white vermouth
- 700ml fresh fish stock
- 100g unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 small fennel bulbs, or 1 large one, cut into small cubes
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 200g risotto rice (such as arborio)
- Small bunch fresh flatleaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- Peel the prawns and put the shells and heads in a saucepan with the vermouth and stock. Bring to the boil; simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain into a jug (discard the shells and heads) to produce about 750ml stock. Return to the pan and keep warm on the hob.
- Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a low-medium heat, then fry the onion gently for 5 minutes without colouring, stirring. Add the fennel and garlic and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 3 minutes to toast the rice in the butter. Stir in a ladleful of the stock and cook at a fast simmer, stirring constantly. As the rice cooks it will slowly release starch, giving the dish its creamy consistency. When the stock has been absorbed, stir in another ladleful.
- Continue like this for about 20 minutes or until the rice is al dente. When you have added about three-quarters of the stock, add the prawns. Add a little more stock if needed – each time you cook risotto it will need a different amount of stock – until the prawns are pink and cooked and the rice is al dente. Sprinkle over the parsley to serve.
Toasting risotto rice in butter before adding stock gives it a nutty taste and helps keep the grains firm when cooking.
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