Prawn and Vermouth Risotto

From issue #7.
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Prawn and Vermouth Risotto

Serves: 6


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups vialone nano rice
1 cup vermouth
5 cups fish stock, hot
pinch of saffron threads, toasted
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and ground
2 cloves garlic, crushed
300 grams raw, shelled prawns, halved
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 punnet (300 grams) cherry tomatoes, halved
handful fresh herbs, chopped eg, parsley, basil, dill


Risotto: Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and add the butter. Sauté the onion, leek and garlic until soft. Add the rice, tossing to coat with the oil and warm it through. This is called toasting. Pour in the vermouth and stir until it is completely absorbed. Stir in the stock, saffron and salt. Cover, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to very, very low and cook for 10 minutes. Use a simmer mat if necessary.

Remove the lid and give the rice a good stir. Cover again and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the rice is tender and creamy. Mix through the crème fraîche and season to taste.

Prawns: Heat the oil in a sauté pan, add the fennel, garlic and prawns. Season and toss over a high heat until just cooked. Add the lemon zest and juice, tomatoes and herbs. Toss together for one minute then remove from the heat. Fold the prawns through the risotto, reserving some to garnish. Serve in warm shallow bowls. Serves 6
To toast saffron: Heat a small heavy-based pan to a medium
heat. Add the saffron threads to the dry pan and toss gently
until they darken slightly and become fragrant. Be careful
not to burn them as this will give an acrid taste. Saffron
threads are available from specialty food stores