What do you do with leftovers? This is a question that I admittedly don’t ask myself very often, given that R and I generally tend to clear most of what’s put in front of us. That said, it happens – especially when we have guests. The other day, we had some of R’s family over for lunch, and I was left with some leftovers. Specifically, I was left with almost a litre of delicious broth from cooking the octopus to prepare the octopus ragù that I promise I’ll give you all the recipe for shortly. Had I been in the UK, I’d have probably used the broth to make soup or to prepare a fisherman’s pie (yum!), but, in Italy, there’s really only one thing to do with leftover broth… make risotto!
This risotto is light, tasty and creamy. The broth, wine and shallots give it depth of flavour, the prawns confer texture and sweetness, and the starch released from the cooking of the rice makes for that lovely creamy texture we all know and love. Something was missing though… we both felt it needed a kick, something to exalt the flavours and make it a bit more interesting. Not cheese, that would have been sacrilege. Maybe toasted breadcrumbs? We ummed and aahed and finally remembered the jar of sundried tomato powder in the spice rack. The powder is made, if I remember correctly, by drying sundried tomatoes still further in the oven on a low heat and then sticking them in a food processor to get a powder which can be used as a seasoning. It’s salty, but not overpoweringly so. Tangy and fresh, with a slightly chewy texture. It was perfect, and gave the dish just the kick it needed.
I made what I thought was far too much, but it ended up disappearing over the evening along with a lovely ice-cold bottle of Falanghina.
You will need:
- 360g of risotto rice (I like Carnaroli or Arborio)
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 300g of shelled prawns
- 1 litre of fish broth (I used homemade but shopbought will do just fine)
- 60ml dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons of EVO
- Salt to taste
- Sundried tomato powder to taste
Risotto gets a bad rap for being tough to make. All it really requires though, it a little patience. If like me you are lucky enough to have a Thermomix/Bimby then that takes care of the standing around and stirring part. If not, you’ll need to set aside a little more time to stand by your creation and stir, but it’s not terribly difficult!
- Prepare a pan with the olive oil over a medium flame, being careful not to burn the oil. When the oil is hot, add the finely chopped shallots and gently fry for about 1 minute or until they become translucent.
- Add the rice to the pan and toast lightly. Add the wine and begin cooking on a low heat until the wine reduces – you want the alcohol to cook off completely.
- Ladle by ladle, add the fish broth while stirring continuously. About halfway through the cooking process, so after the rice has been cooking for 6 or 7 minutes, add the prawns. At this point, you can also test the rice for salt. Whether or not you need to add any will depend on the broth used and on personal taste.
- Continue adding broth and stirring gently until the rice takes on the right softness and texture. This usually takes between 12 and 15 minutes in my experience.
- When the rice is cooked, allow it to rest for 1 minute before serving. Plate up, and sprinkle with delicious tomato powder! It didn’t look like this for long
There you have it – a delicious Northern Italian risotto with a distinctly Southern Mediterranean twist!
With Love, from Italy