I had good intentions of following this recipe card to the letter in order to have a resulting dish that resembled the intended, instead of the multitude of variations that I seem to keep putting all the other recipe cards through. However, this was not to be as I scanned through the list of ingredients and came across pancetta. This is not normally an issue as it’s easy to substitute with bacon but – oh, horror of horrors – for the only time in as long as I can remember there was no bacon in my fridge or freezer. Yes, you read correctly: NO BACON! The perfectly good explanation for this is that the butcher from where I normally purchase bacon is undergoing renovations and I just haven’t been able to bring myself to buy either packaged stuff or overpriced bacon from particular supermarkets or delis.
So my brilliant idea was to use chorizo. Which then made me think of prawns. And with these two incorporations, the risotto in the end was no longer an all’arrabbiata. It was tasty nonetheless and is one of the two better risottos I’ve made over the years. I think my past problems have been taking too literally the instructions that say ‘wait until all stock is absorbed until adding further’ and I suspect I’ve been allowing the risotto to dry out a bit too much in the process. This recipe card actually instructed to ‘keep the rice wet’ which helped immensely in my case. Any thoughts, tips or pointers in this area?
The other unusual substitution I had to make was for the tinned tomatoes which were stipulated. I didn’t want to open the 800g can in the pantry to use only 300g of it and have to think of something else to do with the remainder in the near future (I know, serious laziness). You’ll see in the ingredients list that I’ve used a medium tomato chopped up, tomato paste and some tomato passata instead which worked quite well. The only thing missing in the end was some chopped parsley to sprinkle over the top for both colour and taste, but I really can’t handle having dying herbs in my fridge.
Risotto with Chorizo & Prawns (serves 2)
(adapted from The Age – Epicure 50 Best Recipe Cards, recipe by Jill Dupleix)
· 1 tbs olive oil
· 1 chorizo sausage, sliced into rounds
· prawns (as many as you like), split in half lengthways
· 1 garlic cloved, crushed
· ½ onion, finely diced
· 1 cup risotto rice, unwashed
· 700mL hot, simmering vegetable or chicken stock (you may need more or less than this)
· 1 medium ripe tomato, roughly chopped
· 1 tbs tomato paste
· ½ cup tomato passata
- Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and cook chorizo until almost crisp. Throw in prawns until opaque and curled. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium then add garlic and onion to the pan. Cook until onion is soft and translucent before adding rice. Stir rice to coat well before adding two ladles of stock. Allow to absorb almost completely before adding more stock, a ladleful at a time. Stir gently and keep adding enough stock to keep the rice wet.
- Take a grain a rice and check for doneness – it should be soft and sticky but still retain a little bite. When rice is just about ready, throw in the tomato, paste and passata. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the tomato is broken down. Season to taste.
- Add reserved chorizo and prawns back to pan and stir until well combined and heated through. Serve risotto topped with chopped parsley and black pepper, if desired.