My cooking usually revolves around what I can find in my fridge, pantry and/or the garden. On days like this, when it’s a little cold and gray outside, I do crave for some comfort food – a little bit of starch and cheese. I found some lemongrass at the bottom of my vegetable crisper that was begging to be used (it was starting to morph into an old stick). Also located a lonesome packet of squid ink. Before I know it, I have made a South East Asian take on a Mediterranean classic.
I have since had seconds and have subsequently slid down the over-indulgent spiral of shame. It was so good and I still have enough leftover for tomorrow.
This will probably feed 3-4 people…depending on how hungry they are.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A bunch of asparagus, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 stalk lemon grass, white parts finely chopped
1 kaffir lime leaf, sliced really thin
2 stalks of Thai basil
Handful of shrimp/prawns, shelled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp squid ink (1 pack)
1 cup arborio rice
3-4 cups chicken stock, boiling hot
1/2 cup of shaved parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Finely chopped parsley and spring onions for garnish
Heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large pan. Sauté the onions and lemon grass with 1 tsp of salt, when onion softens, add in garlic and asparagus. Next, throw in the arborio rice and give it a good stir, making sure each bead of rice is coated with the aromatic oil and butter. Add in the kaffir lime leaf and Thai basil.
In the meantime, stir in the squid ink with the chicken stock, mix well and heat up until the stock is boiling hot. Begin adding the hot chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time – for the first few addition, cook until the liquid is absorbed. Stir gently so the rice doesn’t break apart. Continue to add in stock and cook until the rice is al dente. Throw in the shrimp/prawns, cook for 2-3 minutes until they are no longer transparent. Then add in the shaved parmesan cheese, give it a gentle stir to combine the cheese with the rice. Give it a try and season the risotto with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with spring onions and parsley. Serve immediately.