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I created this dish this evening, a bit too lazy to cook for long, but wanting luxury. Welcome to my world of decadent risotto. Whilst not a slow cook dish, do not rush it. There is something quite zen about creating a lazy risotto. A glass of chilled white wine and some classical music in a softly lit kitchen, a few strategically placed candles, and you will lose yourself in your task. It is one of those dishes that looks much more difficult and decadent than it really is.
- About a 200 grams of rice. I used simple white rice this evening, but of course there is no reason why you cannot use basmati, Jasmin, brown or any other.
- A large onion
- Olive oil or butter
- A sliced leek (optional)
- A whole packet of frozen prawns (these can range from top range to supermarket own brand, and they do not need to cost the earth.)
- Frozen or canned sweetcorn
- Fresh garlic/or tubed garlic paste
- Consommé powder/stock powder (I use chicken-flavour kosher soup powder, but anything to add flavour is fine.)
- A half packet of full or medium fat cream cheese. A low fat cream cheese would lack the unctuousness needed.
To Make the Sauce
Zap your onion in a food processor or slice it finely. I used a red onion. Any large onion is just fine.
Slice your leek if using. You could equally add a few mushrooms if wished.
Sizzle your onion (and leek) until soft and translucent in the oil or butter. Stir. Add the garlic. You do not need to let the garlic cook long; it can get a bit bitter if overcooked and I like it sweet and melty. Now add your prawns and sweetcorn. These will have their own liquid if frozen but you might need to add a little more. There is something about the prawns and sweetcorn that really complement each other. However if you like, you could add frozen peas. Add a couple of teaspoons of soup mix, crushed stock cube or whatever it is you need to add flavour but beware of adding too much; you can always add more later, but you cannot take it back out! The dish should not be over seasoned, but you do need to overcome the natural tendency of rice to be bland. Now add the soft cream cheese and stir it in into your sauce. Remember to keep a bit back for later. I love this stage of the cooking process; it is where the sauce really begins to take shape.
Once the ingredients are all nicely mixed, you can drain your rice. Give it a quick rinse to drain off the excess starch otherwise it will be a bit glutinous. Begin to add the rice to the sauce in stages, using a single ladle at a time. Do not simply tip all the boiled rice into the sauce at once. Keep stirring the ingredients all together and when fully mixed, add a further ladle of rice. Keep doing this till all the rice is mixed with the sauce. At this stage, you may need to add more cream sauce and stir well, according to taste. Perhaps try adding some pepper or chili for a kick? Let it sit for a while in a covered pan to soak in. The risotto could be topped with cooked shrimp and thick, tangy shards of parmesan, or with some thinly sliced chili for colour and heat.
This is the perfect meal for a cold, winter’s evening, enjoyed with white wine.