Dinner Party Solutions: Prawn Orzotto

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Orzotto is risotto with barley instead of rice. It’s so much less fiddly than arborio rice because it doesn’t have to be cooked à la minute, making this yet another dish that can be prepared well in advance. All you need is to cook the prawns and reheat the orzotto ten minutes before serving.

You can make the prawn stock by boiling prawn shells and heads in enough water for about 10 minutes. Add  bay leaves, onion, celery and carrot too, if you have any, to make the stock even tastier. If you don’t have white wine sitting around, try substituting with beer (the whole 330 ml bottle) or extra dry vermouth.



1.5 litres prawn stock
70 g butter
8 shallots, chopped
250 g barley
300 ml white wine
bunch parsley, chopped
prawns, shelled (as many as you can afford, about 4 per guest)
100 ml cream


  1. Heat the stock in a pot and keep at a gentle simmer.
  2. Melt the butter in a deep pan and gently cook the shallots till fragrant. Do not let them colour.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium and add the barley, stirring to coat each grain.
  4. Pour in the wine and stir constantly till the wine is almost all absorbed.
  5. Stir in a ladleful of hot stock and keep stirring vigorously till almost absorbing. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock and keep stirring. You can take a rest after about 10 minutes of stirring, just remember that the more you stir, the creamier it gets. The orzotto is ready when the barley grains are al dente, about 40 minutes. If you run out of stock, add hot water instead. Season to taste. Set aside at this point if you are making in advance.
  6. To finish the dish, melt a knob of butter in a pan and toss in the prawns. Cook over medium heat on both sides till the prawns are a bright coral pink. Off the heat, stir in the cream and season well with salt and pepper.
  7. To assemble, place a generous scoop of orzotto in a wide soup plate, top with the prawns and drizzle with the cream sauce.

Serves 8.

Risotto on Foodista


4 thoughts on “Dinner Party Solutions: Prawn Orzotto

  1. Wow, this recipe is definitely a keeper!

    I’d like to invite you to take some time to drop by at Foodista. We have launched an online food and cooking encyclopedia ala wikipedia where you can contribute and share what you know about food and cooking techniques.(and this recipe too?)

    We also have a small embeddable widget that will help you build traffic from Foodista-related pages. This will explain how the widget works. Thanks

  2. Hello! I found this blog in Foodista and followed it here. This is a lovely blog and awesome Prawn Orzotto recipe. Reminds me of mom’s recipe and it was superb, I bet yours is excellent too! By the way you can place more Foodista widget in your past and future blogs so that other Foodista readers can follow and see your blog too. Just search for a related recipe or food in Foodista and use its widget. I hope to read more from you. Cheers!

    • Thanks Christine. You mean your mom made orzotto when you were young? Lucky you!

      Let me know how you like it when you do try my recipe.

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