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Baked Prawn Risotto

Tips & recipe from food critic Ingrid Shevlin on making a delicious baked risotto


* Use only the best quality stock - something like Dr Broth
* Use good quality risotto. First time I used a cheep one.  Second time Iused an Italian risotto That made a big difference.

* Don’t use those tasteless button mushrooms.
* Use a cast iron pot as it goes straight from stove to oven.
* Salt and pepper lightly as you cook, tasting all the time so you don’t over season. Remember the stock usually has salt in it.

4 spring onions – second time round I added some chopped fennel, including the fronds and the bulb
4/6 cloves of garlic, crushed.
Herbs of your choice, chopped
Basil pesto (optional).  I used about 4 teaspoons
1 chilli, chopped  – I used 1 tsp chilli paste
1 punnet mushrooms, sliced
1 cup risotto
3 cups Dr Broth Bone Broth
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup grated Parmesan
Raw, shelled prawns (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste.

1 Preheat oven to 220C (I hovered the dial between 200 and 220)
2 Chop the spring onions (and fennel if using) .
3  Heat a good dollop of butter with a little olive oil to prevent burning and gently sautee the spring onions, fennel, garlic, herbs and chilli until soft.
4 Add the chopped mushroms and continue cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed. Important that.
5 Add  the risotto rice and and saute for about three minutes, stirring.
6 Add the stock and the wine.
7 Remove from stove, seal the top with tin foil, put lid over and then place in oven for 20 minutes . Not a minute more as it will overcook.
8. Remove from oven and stir in the Parmesan. Don’t panic if there is still liquid as it will continue to be absorbed after cooking and the Parmesan is added. Anyway, I little liquid is fine, I say.
9 Keep warm. Then quickly sautee the prawns in a frying pan in butter and lemon and sear on both sides – about two minutes a side. If you buy frozen prawns like I did, drain when they are defrosted and pat dry with paper towels. Otherwise the prawns will steam not sear from too much liquid.
10 Toss prawns on top, serve with salad and enjoy.

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