For the french version, click HERE.
This is my contribution to the food blog event “Is my blog burning” hosted today by Pim. Pim was raised in Bangkok and lives now in San Francisco. She writes a food blog I love called “Chez Pim” . She enjoys coming to Paris.
The theme today is “Around the world in a bowl of rice”.
Since Noé is not a baby anymore, I’m always looking for food that we can all eat together and that we all enjoy. With Gabrielle, 11, it’s easy as she has adult taste, she even enjoys spicy food and she likes discovering new tastes. With Noé, 4, it’s not so easy. His favourite meal is still pasta and ham.
Risotto, even as an appetiser, is the perfect meal for me : it’s a one pot dinner that you can adapt very easily and everybody loves it. A long time ago it was considered as a meal for poor people until it became fashionable in restaurants in the 90’s. In proper Italian restaurants, it is served as an appetiser.
On top of that, David loves cooking it. I just have to prepare all the ingredients and there it is. It’s a real family job.
Risotto is really easy to make. To succeed, here are the 3 golden rules :
Rice : you’ll need to use a special risotto rice. Grains are smaller and rounder than rice we’re used to. They are able to absorb a big quantity of liquids (wine and stock) which gives the risotto it’s creamy consistence but leaves the rice firm. There are several rices for risotto. I’ve used Arborio rice which is the more common and the easiest to find. You can find several other risotto rices which have a very good reputation such as Vialone, Carnaroli, Baldo or Roma.
Liquids : they have to be at room temperature for the wine and hot for the stock. You need to add the stock little by little using a ladle, waiting for each ladle-full to be absorbed before adding some more.
Patience : you need to know that as soon as you start to cook the rice, you won’t be able to walk away from your pan as you need to stir constantly. So you need to prepare all the ingredients and have them nearby before you start, and make sure the CD you’re listening to isn’t near the end. But, hey, it’s only for 20 minutes.
Our favourite cook, Jamie Oliver includes in his books a lot of recipes around risotto. That day we chose the prawn and pea risotto with fresh basil and mint. Just writing this makes me want to eat it again!
That particular evening we nearly didn’t have our risotto. It was a bank holiday in the middle of the week as we sometimes have in France. During the afternoon I was preparing all the ingredients. Everything was fine until I took the packet of rice from the cupboard. It was in the cupboard, there was some rice in the packet but just enough for someone not very hungry. A nightmare for a cook. I gave a call to the Italian delicatessen that I’ve already written about in this blog. Somebody answered me, Yes ! but then he told me that the store was closed. He must have heard the panic in my voice and asked me what I wanted. He agreed to let me come and buy the rice even though the shop was closed. 15 minutes later I was back home with my precious packet of Arborio rice. In this kind of situation the world always appears beautiful to me.
92, grande rue Charles de Gaulle
94130 Nogent sur Marne
Prawn and pea Risotto with fresh basil and mint.
In the original recipe from Jamie Oliver, you’re not supposed to add any butter nor parmesan because of the prawns. By accident, we added some and it was really good. That is why I kept them in the list of ingredients. You can choose to use them or not.
For 4 persons :
Approximately 1,5 litre stock (chicken, fish or vegetable)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 shallots or 2 medium onions finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400 g risotto rice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 wine glasses of dry white wine (1/4 litre)
50 g butter
60 g freshly grated Parmesan
For the garniture :
3 good handfuls of frozen peas, defrosted
1 knob of butter
450 g of raw prawns, peeled (about 12 big prawns)
1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
½ a handful of fresh mint, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
Notes on ingredients :
For stock, I use cubes of chicken stock that I put in boiling water.
For prawns I buy them frozen from Picard or Tang frères.
Before starting, fry half the peas in the knob of butter and a little stock. Cook until tender and mash.
Prepare all the ingredients in front of you.
Heat the stock. In a separate pan heat the olive oil, add the shallots or onions and garlic, and fry slowly for about 4 minutes. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.
The rice will now begin to fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring.
Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a highish simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladles of stock, stirring and allowing each ladle of liquid to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice - is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don't forget to check the seasoning carefully.
Add the peas (mashed and whole) and the prawns and simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and the herbs and stir.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan, if using. Stir gently. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes. This is the most important part of making the risotto as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat as soon as possible while the risotto retains its perfect texture.
We really enjoyed it. It was so creamy and tasty. It also looked very nice with the pink of the prawns, the green of the fresh herbs and peas.
Yesterday evening at Isabelle and Ethan's place in Paris, we had a fantastic risotto with green asparagus and parmesan prepared by Isabelle for 16 people. I really need to ask her for the recipe.