Sicilian Sunshine on a Plate. It took many attempts to get this dish just right. It needed input from friends on two continents to get the flavor and the correct consistency. The result is a very easy dish to make. It has been an outstanding success with friends. We have all loved the fresh, clean, taste brought through by the lemon and the joy of being served fresh seared king prawns.
We discovered this dish on our annual trip to Sicily with some dear friends. There is a tiny restaurant in Siracuse called Restuarante La Cambusa. The restaurant has a wonderful ambiance, set in an old warehouse with domed brick ceilings. This was complemented by the view over the harbor and the super-yachts moored there.
The establishment was run by a lovely married couple. He was a local and she was from Japan. He ran the restaurant and the lady of the house managed the kitchen. The cultural roots of these special individuals made the menu unique and really enjoyable for the four of us. It was so good we went there twice!
Winemakers to the rescue
We were finding the Lemon Risotto with Prawns difficulty to recreate at home. Flavors and consistency that we enjoyed in Sicily eluded us. Really frustrating, as the dish was an awesome discovery.
A few months later we received an invitation to a luncheon at a wine farm in the Bot River area of the Western Cape. The farm produces not only fine wines but has its own goat herd. There were a few other winemakers in attendance at the lunch and of course, they had all brought a selection of their best wines to share. (well, they wouldn’t bring average ones, now would they?)
Niels and Penny Verburg are the Winemakers at Luddite Winery. They really do produce some amazing wines and every mouthful was a very pleasing experience. (Talk about dying and going to heaven!) Penny is a brilliantly creative Chef and we were chatting about food and recipes (as you do!) and the frustration with the Lemon Risotto with Prawns came up in conversation. “Add a good glass of Prosecco before you serve it”, she advised. Bubbles will really make it light and airy and give you the texture you are looking for”, she added.
Enjoy making this dish we love it.
Lemon Risotto with Prawns
Sicilian Sunshine on a Plate. It took many attempts to get this dish just right. It needed input from friends on two continents to get the flavor and the correct consistency. The result is a very easy dish to make. It has been an outstanding success with friends. They have loved the fresh, clean, taste brought through by the lemon and the joy of being served fresh seared king prawns.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots peeled and finely chopped
- 375 g Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 300 ml dry white wine
- 1 ltr hot vegetable stock
- Grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 60 g mascarpone cheese
- Salt and white pepper
- 16 raw peeled king prawns, deveined
- 1 glass of Prosecco
Heat half the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the shallots and fry gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.
Add the rice and stir constantly for 2 minutes or until the grains are coated and shiny
Pour over the wine and simmer for about 1 minute until it has evaporated.
Add 2 ladles of the stock, bring to a simmer and stir until it is absorbed.
Continue adding the stock in the same way, stirring and waiting for it to be absorbed before adding more until rice is cooked but still has a slight bite. It should take about 16–18 minutes. You may not need to add all the stock.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon zest, three-quarters of the lemon juice, the parsley and mascarpone. Stir for about 30 seconds until creamy. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm while you cook the prawns.
Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Season the prawns with salt and pepper and fry for 2 minutes each side. Pour over the remaining lemon juice.
At the last minute, just before serving, add the glass of Prosecco to the rice and stir through gently.
To serve, spoon the risotto onto warm plates. Arrange 4 prawns on top of each portion, then drizzle over some of the oil and lemon juice that the prawns were cooked in.
This recipe works really well with Fresh Scallops – the sweetness of the Scallop works well with the freshness of the Lemon. Try it with smoked salmon instead of prawns which is very nice to lunch on!
Due to the recipe input from the guys at Luddite we managed to find a Luddite Chenin 2016. If can track one down it is really worth the effort and it compliments the Sicilian Lemon Risotto with Prawns perfectly. If you check the website you can find a distributor near you who I am sure can put you in touch with a retailer near you. The wine is divine. The only worry you will have is whether or not you want to share it with friends or keep to spoil yourself with.