Spot Prawn Risotto

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6

You will have some leftover vanilla oil, which can be drizzled over other seafood or meat dishes as well as pastas.


For the vanilla oil:

  • 1 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out and reserved

For the risotto:

  • 1 cup shellfish or chicken stock
  • 1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 lb. farro
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 9 cups vegetable broth, warmed
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 lb. roasted delicata squash puree
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 24 spot prawns or jumbo shrimp, peeled and head-on
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives


To make the vanilla oil, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the grapeseed oil and vanilla bean seeds. Slowly heat the oil until it reaches 160°F. Remove from the heat, cover and let cool to room temperature. Using an immersion blender, blend to mix the vanilla with the oil. Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the shellfish stock to a simmer. Using an immersion blender fitted with a whip attachment on low speed or using a handheld whisk, slowly whisk in the 1 lb. butter a few cubes at a time until the mixture is emulsified. Set aside and keep warm until you are ready to poach the prawns.

In a large, wide saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 Tbs. butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the farro and cook, stirring often, until the grains begin to glisten with the butter and start to toast. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until it is completely absorbed before adding more. When the farro is al dente, after about 20 minutes, fold in the mascarpone and squash puree. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Bring the poaching liquid to a simmer over medium heat until it reaches about 160°F; do not allow the butter to brown. Season the prawns with salt and white pepper. Place them in the liquid and cook until the tails start to curl slightly and the flesh is no longer translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the prawns to a plate.

Divide the risotto among 6 individual plates and top with the prawns. In a bowl, toss the arugula with 2 to 3 tsp. of the vanilla oil, and season with salt and white pepper. Drizzle a little vanilla oil over the prawns and scatter the arugula leaves over the plates. Garnish with the chives and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Recipe by Chef Bryan Voltaggio

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