Don’t you love how food can remind you of some of the happiest moments in your life? Whenever I am making this king prawn risotto in my home kitchen I am transported back to Portofino in Italy. I’m reminded of the pretty Piazzetta and the pastel-coloured houses. And the night my partner and I phoned our parents to share the happy news that we were planning to get married.
We had been travelling around Italy. We visited Rome, Florence and Pisa, with the biggest smiles on our faces. All the while we had a huge secret. We had decided to get engaged while we were in Rome on the very first night of our vacation.
We were staying at the Fifteen Keys Hotel and had reserved a table for dinner at Dal Bolognese. We sat outside overlooking Piazza del Popolo. We drank some gorgeous Italian red wine and as the food started to appear, we decided it was time to get married. Before desserts left the kitchen, we had made plans to buy engagement rings the following day.
Celebrating our engagement in Portofino
On our first night in Portofino, we ate at Chuflay Restaurant in the corner of the Piazzetta. While researching our trip, we had watched Andrea Bocelli belt out love songs by the waterfront on the TV. The restaurant caught our eye and we felt compelled to eat there.
Luckily, our intuition paid off. We sat at a candlelit table on the terrace, looking out to the yachts in the harbour. After an aubergine starter and a glass of champagne, I plumped for the seafood risotto.
The serving was very generous. Packed full of thick tiger prawns and tender slices of squid, clams and mussels. The sauce was creamy, with softened tomatoes, black pepper and fresh basil leaves. It was delicious!
To make the Italian seafood risotto even more special, I’ve added a good splash of prosecco to my version, but if you want to go all out you could add some celebratory lobster, scallops or champagne.
King prawn risotto inspired by the Riviera
Start by dicing a small onion and frying it in olive oil. Once the onion has softened, add risotto rice, tomatoes, and a good splash of the prosecco. As the rice soaks up the liquid, keep adding the rest of the wine until it the risotto rice soaks up every last drop.
Pour the fish stock into the risotto little by little and stir often. Add the king prawns and mixed seafood to the mix and cook for about five minutes. I tend to use a blend of prawns, mussels and squid rings, but you can add scallops, lobsters or clams if you prefer.
After about 30-40 minutes, when all the liquid has gone, add a knob of butter. Stir the butter through the dish, so it coats all the rice and seafood. This adds an extra creaminess to the risotto.
Serve with a good grind of black pepper and the biggest basil leaves you can get your hands on. Two or three large leaves should suffice.
How to make a king prawn and seafood risotto with prosecco
- 1 small onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 200 g risotto rice
- 7-8 cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 bottle prosecco
- 200 ml fish stock
- 200 g mixed seafood and king prawns
- 50 g salted butter
- 1 grind black pepper
- 5-6 fresh basil leaves
Fry the diced onion in olive oil for a few minutes until it softens.
Add the risotto rice, tomatoes, and a good splash of the prosecco.
Pour in the rest of the wine a few big splashes at a time until the rice soaks it all up.
Spoon the fish stock into the risotto little by little and stir often.
Add the king prawns and mixed seafood to the mix and cook for about five minutes.
Add a knob of butter when all the liquid has gone. Stir the butter through the dish.
Serve with fresh basil leaves and a good grind of black pepper.