10 Feb 2011

Broccoli for a long-awaited come back

It has been quite long time since my last post; it has been a long pregnancy but finally here I am.
Yesterday night I felt the need to get back to cooking for you all, creating new unusual and enticing dishes for your table, memories, dream (nightmares?).
When I came back from Sicily, last Saturday night, I bought a head of broccoli and few other things to be able to survive on Sunday. Half of it went into a reshaped classic: soupy broken linguini with broccoli, garlic, olive oil and parmesan; a soul food of my childhood that speaks to me of my mother and our meal together when I wasn’t able even to cut a slice of bread. The time of happy, free thoughts over a sparkling future, run in the grass with my neighbour friends, cry over a scratched knee after a fall, laughter watching my baby sister running on the hallway with her puffy diaper and head full of goldie locks.
We want to grow up; we do it eventually. We take the sceptre from our mothers preparing those simple meals that made us what we are.
Do not worry, this post isn’t about “pasta e broccoli” rather risotto with broccoli. Not any risotto though! Scavenging my freezer I found a bag of sweet prawns to use and…some Valrhona chocolate was still lying around.
Is that enough to entice your curiosity? Come on; say yes… you won’t be disappointed, promised!
Here I give you my:

Risotto with broccoli, poached prawns, roasted sesame seeds oil and dark chocolate shavings

Risotto with broccoli, poached prawns, roasted sesame seeds oil and dark chocolate

Ingredients (make 2 servings):

  • 12 prawns, with shell and heads if possible
  • 1 big garlic clove, minced
  • 1tsp shrimp paste
  • 200g broccoli, half-half stalk and florets
  • 80g Arborio rice
  • Ca 1/2l vegetable stock
  • Roasted Sesame oil
  • Dark chocolate (Valrhona Caraïbe 66%)
  • salt and pepper.

Prepare the broccoli by cutting the florets from the stalk, peel the latter and chop it in medium dices (keep the peelings). Clean the prawns from the shell and head that you will put in a small pot with some olive oil. Set aside half of the prawns and slice or coarsely chop the other half.
Over medium fire gently fry the prawns shells till they turn bright orange, add then the vegetable stock to them and the peeling from the broccoli stalk. Let the broth simmer for 20 minutes or so. Keep the broth over very low flame.
In a medium sized pan put a little olive oil and fry in it the shrimp paste, the garlic and the broccoli stalk. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with the olive oil. Toast the rice without stopping stirring it for a few minutes and then start adding the infused stock a little at a time enough to barely cover the rice.
Let the risotto cook over medium fire adding stock until it will be cooked al-dente. If you should run out of stock, simply use warm water. Toward the end, add the chopped prawns and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the rice is cooking blanch the florets and the entire prawns in the infused vegetable stock and keep warm.
To serve, dish the rice, decorate with few florets and the poached prawns; drizzle a little sesame oil here and there, shave some chocolate over the rice and enjoy! Serve the rest of the florets as side with a drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkle of Kosher salt.

Risotto with broccoli, poached prawns, roasted sesame seeds oil and dark chocolate

The risotto was savory and pleasantly peppery, the broccoli florets added a little sweetness and enough water to clean the palate, the prawns were a pleasant contrasting texture with their springy sweet flesh; every now and then you got another rich deep sweetness, that of the chocolate and the heady aroma from the sesame oil kept the taste-buds awake.
All together it was a rather satisfying meal indeed!


  1. Looks delicious and I love the shrimp too!

  2. wow what a neat risotto welcome back

  3. I am intrigued! That is a list of ingredients that shouldn't go together, and yet, it obviously does. It looks beautiful! Nice comeback, dear. :-)

  4. I agree with RJ Flamingo, it's a great combination of tastes and textures. It's great to have your ideas bubbling around the blogosphere again. :) I think of you as oxygenating the dull food bloggers out there!

  5. Oh, also, I thought of you a few minutes after I read this.

  6. What a fun recipe! I love the addition of chocolate and I love anything with prawns! :)
    Welcome back!

  7. Did you say prawns, sesame and chocolate too? I am sold!

  8. Nice! I'll have to show this to chef Dolce Debbie!