Zucchini, Basil, Chilli and Prawn Risotto

How was everyone’s weekend?  For all my American readers – Happy Thanksgiving!  I will officially be celebrating my first Thanksgiving with some friends this weekend – quite excited!

Yesterday I helped some friends do some major renovations to their house – like major!  Pulling down walls and ripping up floors.  Yeah, told you it was major.  I didn’t exactly do much of the “hard-work”, the boys did that (picture sledge-hammers, crow-bars and electric saws).  I did the moving of boards, once they were pulled from the ground and walls, and put them in the skip bin.  Today, I’m feeling a bit sore, but good sore.

I have been making this risotto for a while now.  It's inspired by a recipe in Neil Perry’s book Good Food, which I've had for years, but always adapted to my style of cooking.  Neil’s recipe calls for slicing the zucchini and making the stock out of them, but I prefer to grate it and add it at the end – I think mines the lazy version.

I made this last weekend to go with my cocktails, but added prawns – wow, took it to a whole different level.  It was so yum that I made it again this weekend.  Only I go distracted and added too much stock in the end, but hey, still tasted delicious!

A note about the prawns – when you cut them lengthways, firstly, it gives you twice as many (awesome!) but also makes them curl beautifully and also cook quicker.  I do this with all pasta / risotto dishes when using prawns.  The quantity of prawns will also depend on the size – if using small ones I say add more, but you generally want 4 – 6 prawns per serving (when cut in half).

1 litre stock (chicken, vegetable of fish)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 knobs butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (alter depending on your liking of heat)
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
8-12 medium prawns, cut in half length-ways
½ large zucchini, grated and any liquid squeezed out
Handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
100g freshly grated parmesan cheese

Heat the stock in a pot or microwave.

In a separate pot, heat the olive oil and 1 knob of butter, add the onions, garlic, celery and chilli, and fry on a low heat for about 15 minutes until the vegetables have softened.  Turn the heat up and add the rice, stirring until all the rice is coated with the oil.  Add the wine and keep stirring to cook out the alcohol.

Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer, and keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring the creamy starch out of the rice.  Allow each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next.

Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, use boiling water.

Remove from the heat and add 1 knob of butter, parmesan, prawns, zucchini and basil. Stir until all ingredients are combined well, then place the lid on and let the risotto sit for 5 minutes.  This will ensure the prawns and zucchini are cooked through.  You can add a little more liquid if the rice becomes too thick.

Serve immediately, topped with a good sprinkle of parmesan.  Serves 4.

Buon appetito!


  1. mmm, lovely simple risotto, but i reckon you gotta cook prawns with the head on otherwise they got no flavour

  2. So beautiful. I love that book- I was given it as the farewell present when I left one of my favourite jobs in Sydney. Leaving it behind when we moved to London was tough...

  3. wow..hearty n irresistable..
    just found your space..amazing space you have...excellent posts with nice presentation..
    love your excellent cliks..
    Am your happy follower now..;)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  4. @Barton - I kept all the prawn heads and shells to make stock. This is a great way to get the flavour back into the dish. But I agree, all the flavour is in the head!

    @Tori - I love love love that book! If I could only keep one that would probably be it :)

    @Jay - Thanks Jay! Will do.

  5. Walked around the shops with your blog open to help me buy all the ingredients for this yummy recipe. Xx


Post a Comment