Citrus Risotto with Garlic-Chile Prawns

This citrus risotto with garlic-chile prawns is made with lemon and sautéed shrimp for a healthy dish that’s still quite rich and satisfying.

A white bowl of citrus risotto and garlic-chile prawns on a white plate with a fork on the side.

When you want comfort but you don’t want to overdo it and still feel like you’re eating somewhat virtuously, that’s when you put together this straightforward risotto and top it with some pretty prawns, or shrimp. You’ve got richness and healthiness all in a single dish. And while there’s enough flavor to satisfy adults at the table, chances are kids will be fine with the rice beneath. (You may want to omit those green flecks of parsley if you have picky eaters at the table.)–Renee Schettler

Do I really have to stir risotto constantly?

No. Frequently, yes. But not constantly. We suggest staying in the kitchen during the entire cooking time so you can keep an eye on the pot and stir it to evenly cook the rice and also to ensure the rice in contact with the bottom of the pan doesn’t scorch. Those of you in search of using risotto stirring as an excuse for not working out, be certain to switch arms halfway through the cooking time.

Citrus Risotto with Garlic-Chile Prawns

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 50 M
  • 50 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 2 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Bills Open Kitchen cookbook

Want it? Click it.



In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat and keep it at a simmer.

Place another large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil, the onion, salt, and half the butter. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the rice and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the rice is well coated.

Gradually add the simmering stock to the rice, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly and making sure the stock is absorbed before you add more. This should take 20 minutes total and the rice should be al dente and creamy. 

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and pepper to taste. Cover and let sit for 3 minutes for the flavors to develop.

Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, pound the chile and garlic. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Season the prawns with salt and pepper. Cook, shaking the pan, until the prawns are just opaque, about 2 minutes. Then add the chile and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Stir the risotto and divide it among 4 bowls. Toss the prawns with the parsley and then place on the risotto. Serve with lemon wedges. Originally published May 7, 2005.

Print RecipeBuy the Bills Open Kitchen cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

The shrimp are wonderfully seasoned with a bit of heat and garlic that goes so well with the creamy lemony risotto. A match to remember. I used my homemade stock which I keep tightly bagged in my freezer for such an occasion. The zest of a whole lemon along with a tablespoon of lemon juice permeate the risotto to form a creamy, wonderful, base for the shrimp.

The recipe called for 2 cups of parsley. This is much too much in my estimate. The dish looked more like parsley with shrimp (and I used 1.5 pounds of shrimp) rather than shrimp with parsley. After scraping some off, the dish worked. I would recommend no more that 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley.

You don't really think of Risotto as a summer dish, but this was so light, bright, and refreshing. It was the perfect summer meal. My husband couldn't wrap his head around risotto without cheese, but this dish was perfectly creamy without it. I can see myself making this as a side for so many seafood and non-seafood meals.

I used gypsy peppers. My supermarket rarely has fresh red chiles, and I had gypsy's growing. They weren't nearly spicy enough.

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Back to Citrus Risotto with Garlic-Chile Prawns on Leite's Culinaria