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Prawn risotto has light Asian flavor
This week's recipe is more of a fusion between East and West. Risotto is traditionally a north Italian rice dish. Theoretically, the Arabs brought rice to Sicily and Andalusia in about the 14th century.
Later on, the Po Valley, which runs from the western Alps to the Adriatic Sea, became the ideal environment and climate for the cultivation of rice. From then on, rice became a vital staple in Italy's eastern Piedmont, western Lombardy and the Veneto regions.
In Italy, the main varieties of rice used are Carnaroli, Vialone Nano and Arborio. One of the important aspects of risotto is to preserve the rice's starch, which is released toward the end of cooking, to bind the grains together.
This risotto recipe does not contain saffron. The fresh ginger, lemon juice and cilantro gives it more of an Asian flavor. However, if you with wish to add some spiciness to the dish, feel free to add saffron, to taste.
We will be serving this risotto at Café Collage for the coming weekend.
RISOTTO WITH FRESH GINGER-MEYER LEMON PRAWNS
1 bunch cilantro, washed
1⁄2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1⁄4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 pounds prawns (21-25 size per pound) shell on
1 tablespoon sea salt
12 ounces butter, divided use
1 large red onion, finely diced
2 cups Arborio rice
4 cups prawns' broth
Optional: 1 cup shaved Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 cups of water; add the cilantro, lemon juice and ginger. Add the prawns and cook lightly over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove the prawns and let them cool.
Peel the prawns, devein them and set aside. Return the shells to the pot. Add 1 tablespoon sea salt and cook for 20 minutes. Let the broth cool for 15 minutes and then strain it, reserving the liquid broth in a container. Discard the solids.
In large cooking pot, melt 8 ounces of butter and sauté the onion over low heat until soft. Increase the heat to medium, add the rice and stir for five minutes.
Gradually 1 cup of the prawns' broth and stir. Continue adding the broth in small amounts while stirring gently. When the rice is al dente (almost cooked but still crunchy, about 20 minutes), add 4 ounces of butter to make the texture smooth and creamy.
Taste the rice to gauge the salt level. Add more salt, if needed, according to your preference. Add the prawns to the rice and stir to incorporate. Cook for five minutes over low heat until warmed through. Add any remaining broth and stir the risotto until the liquid is absorbed.
Serve immediately, as the main quality of a good risotto is to be served straight from the cooking pot. Top with Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, if desired. Often in Italy, cheese is banned from any seafood combination.