Risotto with Prawns, Lavender & Lemon


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Limoncello and Linen Water

Limoncello and Linen Water

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2012

  • About

This is delicate, summery and delicious. You may like to add a shower of fresh herbs at the end. Have the butter and cream at room temperature.


  • 700 g (1 lb 9 oz) medium raw prawns (shrimp)
  • 1.25 litres (44 fl oz/5 cups) quick vegetable broth
  • 90 g ( oz) butter
  • 80 g ( oz) spring onions (scallions) with some green, chopped
  • 320 g (11¼ oz) risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) white wine
  • about 12 fresh unsprayed lavender sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind, yellow part only
  • 4 tablespoons brandy
  • 4 tablespoons pouring (whipping) cream
  • grated parmesan, to serve, if you like


Shell and devein the prawns, discarding the heads and reserving the shells. Make the vegetable broth, adding the prawn shells to the pot with the vegetables. Keep hot.

Heat 50 g ( oz) of the butter in a large wide pot and sauté the spring onions gently until cooked and pale golden, but not too dark. Add the rice and cook until it starts to stick, turning it through with a wooden spoon. Pour in the wine and cook until it has mostly vanished. Add 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of the hot broth and simmer, stirring now and then with a wooden spoon, until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Add another 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of broth and 2-4 of the lavender sprigs. Depending on your broth you may need to add salt and pepper here. Once this broth has been gently absorbed, continue to add more broth, letting it simmer and absorb before adding the next cupful. The risotto is ready when the rice is creamy, yet still a little firm, and there is just a small amount of liquid in the pot, about 20 minutes. If you run out of broth, you can use hot water.

Meanwhile, put a non-stick frying pan over high heat with half the remaining butter and when it’s hot, add the prawns. Sauté until they are opaque and a bit golden on both sides. Add 1 teaspoon of the lemon rind with a little salt and pepper and toss together. Add the brandy and stand well back as if it flames up it can be very exaggerated. Let it evaporate, then turn off the heat.

Add the cream and the last of the butter to the risotto. Turn through to finish, or mantecare as they say in Italy. Scrape in the prawns and the other teaspoon of lemon rind and heat through just for a couple of minutes to amalgamate all the flavours. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add extra hot water or broth if the risotto is too stiff. Remove the lavender and serve at once, with some fresh lavender sprigs on top. Give a good grinding of black pepper and scatter with parmesan, if you wish.