Epicure Recipe Card #28: Risotto all’Arrabbiata

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
happy cooking!


  1. I love it how your recipe bore no resemblance to the recipe cards. I bet it taste better than the original.

    Can your remember the 90s TV ad which went something like this "What's wrong with this picture?.....there's no bacon" Classic

  2. Yum it's been so long since I've made risotto and yours looks great! As much as I love bacon, I think I might just prefer it with the prawns. Or prawns AND bacon :)

  3. Better to have herbs dying in your fridge than dying outside in you garden from hail pummelling them...wahhh!

    OK enough about me, let's talk about this delicious risotto. What a great improvisation to add chorizo and prawns. The cooked prawns in the photo look almost like little dumplings, I had to look twice to figure out they were prawns! Delicious. Please continue tweaking :)

  4. Wow - Love the combination of prawns and chorizo! Where are the 'arrabiatta' chillies?

  5. That looks delicious! What a fantastic combination.

  6. how you cook sounds like what i do at home, i'm constantly replacing ingredients with similar ingredients (which end up doing the job just as well i think!)
    have you thought about growing a parsley plant?

  7. That looks really good actually! I like the last minute subsitution-if in doubt, add chorizo hehe :P

  8. Love that risotto! I have never tried the chorizo, prawns combo and now you have tempted me!

  9. Hey Mark, haha, I'm a little embarrassed by how much I butcher the poor recipe cards! But all good recipes are up for interpretation?

    Hey Jacq, but bacon is so goooood...! And yes, it still works with prawns, or scallops =D

    Hey Conor, oh your poor hail-damaged herbs! But at least you had some growing to start with, unlike lazy me =p

    Hey Food lover, heheh, I left out the chillies on account of the chorizo being mildly spicy. But there is absolutely no reason why chillies can't be included for a bit of extra kick =)

    Hey Zina, a really good combination on pizza too!

    Hey Panda, I don't purposely substitute...I'm just sometimes not that well stocked, nor that well organised! =p Although I am seriously considering starting a small herb garden on the balcony...

    Hey Lorraine, "if in doubt, add bacon. If there is no bacon, add chorizo"...!

    Hey tasteofbeirut, it's a great combination although possibly not as good as bacon with scallops...

  10. NO BACON?! Oh the horror! Hehee. Chorizo and prawn though, that sounds pretty good.... possibly even better than bacon (oh yes, I went there!).

  11. Hey Agnes, I know, how could I possibly not be in the possession of bacon?! But chorizo's pretty good too...

  12. Sounds great! Love the blog. I think I am going to go to www.triflerecipecards.com, buy some recipe cards, and write this one down.

  13. Hey mamoris, thank you! Recipes whether bought or written down act as a great cooking resource.


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