Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fennel and Prawn Risotto with Prosciutto

A risotto is actually a very easy dish to make so if you've never made one cus you think it's hard; it is not! Just go for it! And don't be snobbish about using ONLY arborio rice. You don't need to do that.

Yes, I know I've just offended millions of untold readers who are risotto aficionados. Tough. Tough, I say. I've made it with arborio, jasmine, basmati, long-grain, short-grain, medium grain, and probably a few others. Heck I even did one with half basmati and half long-grain brown rice.

You know what? They all tasted great. The key (for me at least) is to dry fry the rice a bit first so it goes from translucent to opaque, THEN start on the liquid it'll be cooking in.

I used prosciutto in this because I got a large, unsliced slab of it half off at the shops and after I finished thin slicing it I had a small piece leftover that just wouldn't go through my meat slicer.

Well, it probably would have but I doubt I'dve had any fingertips left for typing.

Obviously, a piece of ham or bacon can be substituted for the prosciutto, no worries.

You'll also notice that this risotto is not heavily seasoned as I really wanted the fennel flavour to stand up and be noticed. It was.

What you need:
1 hunk of prosciutto --about the weight of a full sized bacon rasher

1/2 of a large fennel bulb

1 cup of rice --any kind, uncooked
1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
sprinkle of sea salt

2 litres (1/2 gallon) of MY fennel stock
handful of dried red capsicums, minced
fronds from the fennel bulb

250 grams (about 1/2 pound), peeled, cooked, deveined small prawns

What you do:

First, prepare the fennel. Remember what a fennel bulb looks like?
fennel bulb

Trim the stalks off.
fennel bulb no stalks

Hey look! A pile of fennel stalks with fronds!
fennel stalks

Trim the fronds off the fennel, you'll use the fronds for flavouring the risotto.
fennel fronds

Then chop up all the fronds. I don't need to show you a picture of that, do I? Thought not.

Next, cut your fennel bulb in half.
fennel cut in half

Notice that thick core? Some people cut that away. I don't. Especially since it'll be so soft and succulent in this dish.

Slice one of the fennel halves (or both, your choice). Try to make them about 5 mm or 1/4 of an inch thick.
fennel sliced

Then, for this dish, I cut the slices in half. You don't need a picture of that, right?

Take your hunk of prosciutto and trim the fat off. Keep the fat! Chop the fat up finely and put it in the large fry pan you'll be using for the risotto. Cook it till the fat is liquid and the little bits left over are browned.

Now add you sliced, cut, fennel bulb and cook it till it looks about like this.
fennel fried
Slightly caramelized, but not soggy. Stir whilst frying, of course.

Next, add the rice, the olive oil, and the sea salt. Fry it (whilst stirring) till the rice turns opaque. This'll only take a minute or two.

Now add 1 litre of the fennel stock, the minced fennel fronds, and the dried red capsicums (bell pepper). Give it all a good stir, turn the heat down to medium low. Cover it.

Check it in 5 minutes. Stir it. If the liquid isn't cooking down and being absorbed into the rice the turn the heat up a bit higher. Stir it every few minutes. Add more fennel stock as need until the rice is done and there's almost no liquid left.

The above paragraph should take around 18 minutes.

Turn the heat off and add the prawns, give it a mix. Put the lid on and let it stand for a few more minutes. Now's a good time to finely mince the rest of the prosciutto. Add the minced prosciutto, mix well.

Serve it up!
fennel prawn risotto

Obviously, you can modify and add ingredients to your heart's content. With this one though, I really wanted to get the fresh fennel flavour.


Alisa said...

This recipe looks delicious.I love your photos.If you won't mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

G'day Alisa! Checked my food blog this morning (Friday morning down under) and there was your comment.

Yes, please feel free to guide Foodista readers here, I'll be adding the widget shortly, and of course joining the Foodista community.

Glad you like the pictures, I've always thought mine pale by comparison to some really popular food blogs so it's nice to hear folks liking them.

Be seeing you over at Foodista soon.

christine said...

Hello! I found this blog in foodista and followed it here. This is a lovely blog and awesome Fennel and Prawn Risotto with Prosciutto recipe. The photos are excellent too. By the way you can place more foodista widget in your past and future blogs so that other foodista readers can follow and see your blog too. Just search for a related recipe or food in Foodista and use its widget. I hope to read more from you. Cheers!