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Virtually impossible to find in Southland restaurants a decade ago, risotto--a traditional Italian rice dish--is rapidly gaining local admirers thanks to the work of some innovative chefs. : RISOTTO

October 19, 1989|ROSE DOSTI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Heat broth and add 4 prawns. Poach 3 minutes until prawns turn red. Remove from broth, cool and peel tails. Return shells and heads to broth. Coarsely chop tail meat. Remove tails from remaining 4 raw prawns and set aside. Add heads and shells to broth.

Heat olive oil. Add half shallots and mint and saute until shallots are golden. Add chopped and whole prawn tails. Saute until heated through. Add half wine and simmer until liquid is almost absorbed. Remove whole tails. Set aside.

In another pan heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Add remaining shallots and saute until tender. Add rice and saute 30 seconds until translucent. Add remaining 1/4 cup wine. Simmer until wine evaporates.

Add 1 cup broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until broth is almost absorbed. Continue to add broth in 1/2-cup increments, waiting until liquid is absorbed before adding more broth, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Continue to add broth in 1/2-cup increments, waiting until liquid is absorbed before adding more broth, 10 minutes longer.

Add remaining wine and broth in 1/2-cup increments. Cook, adding as much additional broth as necessary until rice is tender, but al dente, or to desired consistency, stirring constantly. Stir in chopped tails and butter. Cook, stirring until butter melts. Garnish plates with reserved whole tails and additional mint leaves. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

VALENTINO'S RISOTTO WITH PORCINI

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 small onion, chopped

12 ounces arborio rice (short-grain Italian rice)

1 1/2 quarts chicken broth, about

1/2 cup white wine

Salt, pepper

Dash minced garlic

1/2 pound mixed imported fresh porcini mushrooms, sliced lengthwise, stems removed

1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Heat oil in large skillet. Add onion and saute until onion is tender. Add rice and saute until well coated. Add broth in 1/2-cup increments, waiting until broth is absorbed before adding more broth, about 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine, bring to simmer.

Continue to add liquid until used and rice is creamy, about 10 minutes longer, adding enough more broth as necessary, until rice is tender, but al dente, or to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add garlic and mushrooms. Mix again. Remove from heat. Add half Parmesan cheese. Add butter and mix well. Continue to heat until butter melts. Mound risotto on platter. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Makes 6 servings.

UMBERTO'S PUMPKIN RISOTTO

1/2 onion, chopped

1/4 cup butter

1/2 pound arborio rice (short-grain Italian rice)

1 1/4 pounds pumpkin, cubed

1 cup dry white wine

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, about

Salt, pepper

1/4 grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh pumpkin slices

Italian parsley sprigs

Saute onion in half butter until tender. Add rice and saute 30 seconds to coat well. Add pumpkin and saute 30 seconds. Add wine and reduce until almost absorbed. Add broth in 1/2-cup increments, waiting until liquid is absorbed by rice before adding as much liquid as necessary, until rice is tender but al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring constantly. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add cheese. Garnish with slices of fresh pumpkin and parsley leaves. Makes 6 servings.

SQUID INK RISOTTO

6 cups chicken broth, about

4 Santa Barbara shrimp or prawns

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 pound arborio (short-grain Italian rice)

1 cup white wine

1/2 cup tomato puree

1 teaspoon squid ink

Salt, pepper

8 Manila clams or small clams

1 small tomato, peeled and diced

Italian parsley sprigs

Heat broth. Add shrimp and cook until they turn red in color. Remove shrimp from broth and peel. Drop peels and shrimp heads back into broth. Coarsely chop shrimp. Set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add rice and saute 30 seconds until rice is coated. Add wine and reduce until almost absorbed. Strain or remove shells from broth. Add broth in 1/2-cup increments, waiting until liquid is absorbed by rice before adding more as necessary until rice is tender but al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in tomato puree and ink.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. In separate pan heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add clams and cook covered until clams open (adding some water to pan if too dry). Add clams to rice. Garnish with diced tomato and parsley. Makes 6 servings.

RISOTTO WITH PROSCIUTTO AND SHRIMP

6 cups chicken broth, about

8 Santa Barbara shrimp or prawns

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 pound arborio rice (short-grain Italian rice)

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup tomato puree

1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh mint leaves

1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh peppermint leaves

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Salt, pepper

12 paper-thin slices prosciutto

1 cup cubed melon or melon balls

Sprigs of mint

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