Bread Risotto with Prawns

10:00 pm on 7 February 2005

(Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a starter)

Ingredients

  • 450g dried-out sour dough or ciabatta bread or any sturdy farmhouse bread
  • 2 large onions or leeks
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 1.7kg ripe tomatoes
  • 1 whole head of garlic, separated into cloves and skinned
  • 1 tspn black peppercorns
  • 1 tspn coriander seeds
  • 1 tspn dried oregano
  • 450g large raw prawns, peeled or not, as you please
  • 110g chorizo, roughly sliced (optional)
  • 2-3 canned anchovy fillets, crushed (optional)
  • To finish:
  • A small knob of butter (optional)
  • Chopped fresh coriander – plenty

Method

Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces. Soak in a bowl of salted water for a couple of hours, then squeeze dry, using your hands.

Meanwhile, finely slice the onions or leeks and in frying pan fry gently in half the olive oil until soft and golden – 30 minutes is not too long. Set aside.

Chop the tomatoes and set them to cook down to half their volume in a roomy stew pot with the rest of the olive oil and the garlic. Crush the peppercorns and coriander seeds in a mortar and add them to the tomatoes, along with the oregano.

When the tomatoes are well cooked down, push through a sieve, return to the pan and stir in the soaked, squeezed-out bread and 1 litre of fresh water. Let it bubble up and cook gently for another 20 minutes, then stir in the contents of the frying pan along with the prawns, the sliced chorizo, if using, and an optional crushed anchovies to bring up the fishy flavour. Cook for another 20 minutes, until the bread is perfectly amalgamated with the broth. Stir in a knob of butter, season with salt and pepper to your taste and finish with a liberal scattering of fresh chopped coriander.

Wines

GewurztraminerTe Whare Ra, Stonecroft, Villa Maria, and Lawson's Dry Hills.ORPinot Noir:Marlborough based pinot rather than heavier more fruity Central Otago pinot.Dog Point, Craggy Range, Cable Bay, Daniel Schuster (Omihi Hills).ORClean crisp Champagne.

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