Valentine's Day Golden Risotto

I know, I know...excuse the cheesy as f*ck name for this risotto. I had no idea what to call it and since this recipe was created for Valentine's day...well, hence the name. We are currently bombarded with Valentine's Day gift ideas so I thought I'll walk down a different route, a recipe for Valentine's Day instead of shoving another gift idea post into your face.

Valentine's Day, some of us love it, excited and looking forward to it and others, just plainly hate it. I'll be honest and confess that before I met my husband, I was one of the most miserable people (yes, more so than I usually am) that you'll ever meet in February.

Why? Never mind the fact that I was single, it was bloody pink everywhere! Pink roses, pink chocolates wrapped in pink boxes and even worse, those darn adverts try to brainwash me into thinking pink knickers and bras are the most gorgeous thing in the world. I told you that I was miserable...

Misery and my pathetic past aside, I decided to make this dish for Valentine's this year because of two reasons.
1. I wanted to surprise my husband with an out of the box Valentine's gift.
2. I lied. Truth is I am dead broke and couldn't afford to purchase a gift because I blew my monthly budget and more on makeup. Blame Target Canada liquidation sale.

Now I know risotto is not the easiest dish to make, I've seen Gordon Ramsey shredding professional chefs into pieces when they failed making this dish but...I think mine is okay? All jokes aside, I'm not sure if I'm brave or just stupid with a death wish but risotto is one of my top favourite dishes to make.

Again, just to save my ass, this is NOT authentic, I am NOT claiming this is the correct way to cook risotto but...this is my simple version of it. I hope you'll try it and all constructive criticism is welcome.

Cook prawns in a different pan

Keep stock warm

Arborio rice turning slightly translucent

TIP: To check if you need more stock, run the ladle through the rice and if they come back together then you're still good

Valentine's Day Risotto (4 pax)


12 prawns shelled and deveined
1 1/2 tbs freshly chopped parsley
1 cloves garlic; minced
1/8 tsp chilli flakes
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tbs pine nuts
1 tbs butter

For Risotto:
5 cups chicken stock; I prefer full sodium
3 tbs butter/margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs minced shallots
50g mushrooms
3 pieces sun dried tomatoes; sliced
1/3 cup white wine
few strings saffron
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tsp black pepper

Cooking method for prawns:
1. Season prawns with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Set aside.
2. Heat 1 tbs butter and fry garlic and pine nuts until fragrant.
3. Add prawns and parsley. Cook till prawns turn pink and set aside.

Cooking method for risotto:
1. Heat chicken stock, bring it to a simmer and set heat to low so stock remains hot.
2. Take HALF CUP of stock and let saffron steep in it. Set aside.
3. Heat 3 tbs butter in a deep pan and fry garlic, shallots, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms until shallots turns translucent. 
4. Add Arborio rice and fry until rice turn slightly translucent.
5. Add wine and cook until liquid is reduced.
6. Add ONE CUP of stock to rice and turn heat down low to simmer. This will avoid rice from cooking too fast on the outside.
7. Let rice absorb the stock before adding another HALF CUP of stock. Continue this until stock is finished.
8. Strain saffron, add THE STOCK, PRAWNS MIXTURE and black pepper into rice. Cook until liquid is half reduced.
9. Turn off heat and add Parmigiano Reggiano into rice. Mix well.
10. Put the lid on the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
11. Enjoy!

1. Always add stock steeped with saffron last. Saffron produces metallic taste if you overcook it.
2. Stir often so the rice will cook evenly. And it doesn't hurt to taste often too.
3. Rice will be soft with a slight bite to it when it's cooked. It won't be completely soft.
4. I personally prefer to use full sodium stock because it gives a full, rich taste to the risotto and I never add extra salt later.
5. Make sure to cook in a large deep pan as the rice will swell to 3 times it's size.

p/s: How was your weekend? Mine was bitter sweet because I successfully transferred Reflection of Sanity to own domain however, I lost ALL my Google + comments. Can't win all, eh?

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Maira Gall