Risotto with Prawns

This is a basic risotto recipe. Its potential garnishes are almost endless—peas or asparagus, parboiled and added at the last minute; radicchio chiffonade put in raw with the prawns or even thrown on top of the hot risotto to wilt; cooked artichokes or leeks; ancho chili butter; black bean sauce or flavored aioli drizzled on top. But never add cheese to a seafood pasta or risotto, as it tends to make the seafood taste old or spoiled.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 32 prawns, shelled, shells saved
  • 8 cups fish stock
  • 6 tablespoons sweet butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat the oil in a sauté pan until hot. Add the shrimp shells and sauté, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Spoon off all the oil you can and add the fish stock. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain, discard the shells, and skim any oil from the surface of the stock.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and sweat it covered until translucent, about 5 minutes. Do not let it brown. Add the rice and sauté over medium heat, stirring constantly until all the rice is coated with the butter, about 5 minutes.

Add the stock, a cup at a time, and cook the rice over medium heat, stirring constantly, and keep adding more stock a cup at a time as it is absorbed by the rice. When the rice is just tender, after about 15 minutes, add the prawns and garlic. Cook until the prawns are done, 5 to 7 minutes. Garnish as desired and season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining butter and stir until it is incorporated. Serve hot.