Nero Risotto With Peas And Prawns

The only way to achieve the colour in this nero risotto is to make use of squid ink. This can be found in an Italian grocery store, or a deli that sells interesting and unusual ingredients.

Nero Risotto With Peas And Prawns

The first time I made risotto I promised myself it would be the last – it was a disaster. The gloopy mess did not make for a great meal at all. But, I decided to try again, and now I have perfected the art of making a truly awesome risotto. The key is to not stir the rice too much. Jan bought be some more squid ink and so I created this dish. This has been made with my friend Cindy in mind as she has a bottle of vermouth that needs using. The squid ink does not add much flavour to the risotto. In the dish I have made here, the flavour comes from what was added to it. Sweetness from the peas and prawns.Freshness and brightness from the mint. And then there is the texture element. You need the prawns served with their shell on to add some crunch.

Nero Risotto with Peas and Prawns
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Nero Risotto with Peas and Prawns

Recipe Category: Italian, Shellfish


  • 750 mls vegetable stock
  • 15 mls olive oil
  • 10 g butter
  • 1 shallot peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper finely chopped
  • 50 g butter
  • 400 g prawns shelled and head off
  • 200 g risotto rice
  • 125 mls vermouth
  • 1 sachet squid ink
  • maldon salt for seasoning
  • 250 mls frozen peas
  • 1 small handful fresh mint finely chopped
  • 4 whole prawns for garnishing
  • 50 g butter


  • bring the stock to a gentle simmer
  • put the olive oil and the butter into a large sauté pan and gently fry the onion, celery, garlic and red pepper until soft
  • while you are doing this, gently fry the shelled prawns in butter and set aside
  • add the rice and turn up the heat slightly
  • stir continuously until the rice goes transparent
  • add the vermouth while you carry on stirring
  • add the squid ink and stir in
  • turn the heat down and add a ladle of the stock, you do not need to stir the whole time while the stock absorbs
  • add a generous pinch of salt and the next ladle of stock
  • stir the stock in and when it has absorbed, add another pinch of salt
  • add a ladle at a time, stirring once or twice while it absorbs
  • when you are down to the last ladle, adjust the seasoning
  • add the last ladle, and check to see if the rice is cooked
  • add the peas and the mint and stir in
  • while the peas are heating up, fry the head on prawns in the butter left over from the shelled prawns
  • add the shelled prawns and heat
  • remove from the heat, stir in the butter and serve immediately


the most important part of making a risotto is to make sure everything is prepared and ready to use before you start!

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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