Sometimes you just need comfort food, even in Summer. This is my comfort food, it’s a bowl of warming good food for days when you’re really tired and just need a good old hug. This king prawn risotto with peas and courgettes does just that every single time I make it. It’s fresh and zingy and feels kind of light yet it is completely satisfying and comforting. It feels like comfort food and it is a bit of luxury which was desperately needed.
I’ve been making risotto for a long time, and they have become a family favourite meal, all year round. Risotto has a special place in our food stories. My husband made a risotto for me the night he proposed. It soon became Daddy risotto, until he almost poisoned us. Let’s just say Anti freeze and a kitchen jug was involved and it’s a good job my taste buds are pretty refined or it would be a different story I would be telling you today. Anyway we laugh about it now, a lot, and I make more risotto then he does these days.
This prawn risotto is one of our favourites, it’s really great this time of the year when courgettes and peas are in season. The lemon and basil also gives this a lovely fresh and zingy hit and who doesn’t love prawns this time of the year. I use frozen prawns and leave the shells on when I cook them. Just make sure you defrost the prawns completely before you cook them. If you don’t like dealing with heads and shells then you could buy prawns already shelled and deveined. I usually help my daughter out with the head and shell removal, she’s not quite got the hang of that yet.
I use a low sodium vegetable stock to make my risotto but you could use a fish or chicken stock. It’s up to you, just be aware that the flavour will change according to the stock you use. You could save a tiny amount of time by using pre cooked prawns, but not much. This risotto is best made fresh and served immediately. It comes together fairly quickly, about 30 minutes, so you won’t be in the kitchen too long at all.
King Prawn Risotto with Peas and Courgette
A seriously tasty risotto with king prawns, peas, courgette, lemon and basil.
- 2 echalion ( banana) shallots finely chopped
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 350 g arborio (risotto) rice
- 350 g jumbo king prawns (about 4 per person) head, tail and shell on
- 1 small courgette (150g) cut in half then sliced
- 80 g frozen peas
- 40 g parmesan finely grated
- The zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbs butter
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 litre low sodium vegetable stock
- 1 small handful of basil chopped
- 1 fat clove of garlic minced
- Lemon wedges to serve
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large saute pan, add the chopped shallot and cook over a medium to low heat until the shallots are soft. About 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute
Add the rice to the pan, cook until the rice has soaked up any juice and is slightly toasted, stir often, for about 5 minutes
Add a ladle of stock at a time to the rice, keep stirring so the rice doesn't stick to the pan. As soon as the rice soaks up the stock add another ladle of stock.
Towards the end of the stock add the peas and courgette and the last ladle of stock and stir gently. Finally stir in the lemon zest, black pepper and basil. Now add the butter and stir well, then turn off the heat and stir in the parmesan.
In a separate pan heat the rest of the oil. Add the prawns to the pan then cook for about 2 minutes each side. The prawns are cooked when they have turned pink and have shrank a little.
Serve the prawns on top of the risotto. Add some basil leaves, a wedge or two of lemon and more cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.