Another one-pan quickie here, definitely with a spring influence – we went out and saw crocuses (crocuses? Croci? Apparently both are correct) and snowdrops in the sunshine today… blame that! Technically you do use two pans as you use one to toast the fennel seeds but this isn’t essential and they don’t exactly make much of a mess. So if, like us, you are ready for a little spring on your plate then give this one a try.
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
- Pasta of your choice
- Raw king prawns, about 6-8
- 1 large handful of frozen peas
- Zest of 1 lemon
- A handful of parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp creme fraiche
- Salt & pepper
Pop some water on to boil and when it’s boiling salt the water and drop the pasta in (pretty sure you don’t need telling how to cook pasta). When the pasta is a couple of minutes away from cooked add the peas to the pan. Once the pasta is cooked reserve about 1/2 a mug of the pasta water and then drain. Put the pan back over a low heat, add the fennel seeds, lemon zest, parsley, prawns and creme fraiche to the pan and stir over the low heat until the prawns are cooked. While doing this add in a little of the pasta water you saved as you need it until it looks like a perfect, creamy consistency. Season to taste and serve!
We know that it’s almost the middle of December and it’s pretty chilly around here. And we know that this is much more of a summer dish, but risotto is pretty comforting all year round and sometimes you don’t feel like a heavy dinner. Pea and prawns is a classic combination – we kept this light, it has no cheese in it and the peas and prawns are only added at the end so the risotto is subtly flavoured with white wine and lemon zest and then the burst of freshness comes from the chopped herbs at the end. You could stir in some crème fraiche or soft cheese at the end to add extra richness but we found that ours was creamy anyway just from the starchyness of the rice.
If you manage to serve this with a little more delicacy than we did then this could make a very elegant course for a dinner party. This recipe would make plenty for 4-6 people as a starter but like the pigs we are we ate the lot!
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 small onion or 2 shallots, very finely chopped
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 200g Arborio rice (or other risotto rice)
- 1 glass of white wine
- About 1.5l of weak chicken stock (we used 1 stock cube in total)
- 3-4 pieces of lemon zest
- Frozen peas, as many as you like – we used about 200-300g
- Raw king prawns, either frozen and defrosted or fresh
- Mixed soft herbs, we used mostly parsley with a little mint and dill, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to season
Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan/skillet. Add the finely chopped onion/shallot and the dried thyme and cook over a very low heat for around 10 minutes until completely translucent but not coloured. You’ll need to keep a fairly close eye on these and stir them regularly as you don’t want them to stick or colour. Stir in the rice after this time and cook in the butter for a minute or so, then pour in the white wine and add the lemon zest. Season lightly at this stage.
Keep stirring until all of the wine has been absorbed and then start adding the stock, ladle by lade, stirring regularly and not adding the next ladle until the previous has been completely absorbed. This process will take about 30-40 minutes until the rice is cooked so after about 20 minutes tip the frozen peas into a bowl and cover with boiling water to defrost. Let them stand for a minute or so and then drain and add to the risotto.
Taste the rice to check it is cooked but still with some bite and when you’re happy with it add the prawns, these should take around 2 minutes to turn beautifully pink, you don’t want to overcook them! When they’re ready stir in most of the chopped herbs and adjust the seasoning. Serve up and sprinkle with the remaining herbs and salad if you wish.
Enjoy! We love making risotto, some people find it a faff but we find it very relaxing just taking the time and care over it, and you’re rewarded with such a lovely meal!