I love the addition of flavoured butter to the top of risotto. I think it helps with the creaminess and mouthfeel without loading it up with so much cheese. Stir your risotto constantly if you like, but I don’t think it’s necessary – take a break when you need to.
A risotto should be loose enough to spread easily if you tap the bottom of the plate. It will firm as its cooks and cools or when thickening ingredients such as cheeses are added. Reserve a little stock (or just use water) to stir into the risotto if the consistency looks too firm.
Adam Liaw’s tomato and prawn risotto
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
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700g raw prawns, unshelled
1.5L (6 cups) vegetable stock
60ml (¼ cup) olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
440g (2 cups) carnaroli rice
125ml (½ cup) white wine
250ml (1 cup) tomato passata
1 large pinch saffron, soaked in 60ml (¼ cup) hot water
25g salted butter
45 g (½ cup) grated pecorino or parmesan, plus extra to serve
Black pepper, to season
1 tbsp finely shredded parsley, to serve
1 bird’s eye chilli, sliced
½ tsp smoked paprika
Peel the prawns and put the shells and the stock in a large saucepan, reserving a couple of heads for the butter. Simmer the stock for about 15 minutes, then strain.
Heat a large casserole dish over a medium heat then add the oil and onion. Fry the onion for about 3 minutes until translucent, then stir in the garlic and fry for a further minute. Add the rice and stir for about 1 minute, then add the wine and stir until it is absorbed. Add the passata, saffron and its water, and about a third of the hot stock, then simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stock is absorbed. Repeat twice with the remaining stock, reserving about 250ml (1 cup) to adjust the texture of the risotto to serve.
Meanwhile, cut each prawn lengthways along its back most of the way through the prawn. As the last addition of the stock is being absorbed (taste the risotto to check that the rice is al dente; it should still feel slightly firm to the tooth), add the prawns and stir through. Cook for about 1 minute (the prawns will continue to cook while you serve), then stir through the butter and pecorino. Taste and adjust the seasoning and texture. Serve risotto on warmed plates.
To make the chilli butter, heat the butter in a small saucepan until foaming, then add the chilli and paprika. Spoon the butter over the risotto, then scatter with the parsley and extra pecorino and season with black pepper.
This is an edited extract from 7 Days of Dinner by Adam Liaw (Hardie Grant Books, RRP $45), which is available in stores nationally.