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Head for Italy with the Il Basilico Madeira Risotto


Who doesn't like a good Italian dish?

At the Il Basilico Madeira restaurant, risotto with prawns, courgettes and saffron is one of our customers' favourite dishes. Chef Cristiano Cutietta will share the recipe for this delicacy with you, so that you can enjoy this dish even when you can't be with us.
This recipe is medium difficulty, has a preparation time of 90 minutes and serves 4 to 5 people. Note down what you will need.


• 400 g Risotto rice (Carnaroli or Arborio)
• 700 g shrimps, unshelled (40/60)
• 400 g courgette washed
• About 1 teaspoon saffron powder
• 150 g onion, finely chopped
• 100 g Parmesan cheese, shaved
• 50 g butter
• Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
• 1 dl white wine
• 2 cloves garlic
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Coarsely chopped parsley leaves to taste

For the stock:

• 150 g onion, peeled
• 150 g carrot, peeled
• 100 g stick of celery, washed
• 20 g sprig parsley
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 dl white wine
• 2 l water
• Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
• Sea salt to taste

Let’s get cooking!


Peel the prawns and reserve the heads and shells. Remove any impurities from the prawn flesh by making a small cut in the back of the prawn.

For the stock:

Wash the vegetables and cut them into large pieces. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and add the vegetables, the bay leaf and the coarsely chopped parsley (with the stalks). Sauté for 5 minutes, add the prawn shells and a little salt and sauté for a further 3 minutes, crushing the shells with a spoon. Add the wine, let the alcohol evaporate and add the cold water.
Cook over a moderate heat for 1 hour, taking care to skim off any impurities that may form on the surface. When the stock is ready, strain through a fine sieve and keep warm.

For the risotto:

Dice the courgette into 1.5 cm cubes. Put the garlic cloves into a frying pan with a dash of olive oil and sauté until golden. Then add the courgette and sauté for 3 minutes over a strong heat, add 100 ml (½ cup) of the stock and once the stock is absorbed, add the prawns. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the prawns are ¾ cooked. Remove from the heat, add some chopped parsley and leave to cool.
In a large, shallow pan, add half the butter and a drizzle of olive oil, heat and then add the onion. Let it braise at low heat and add a little stock to stew the onion. Then add the rice and let it cook. The risotto should boil, but not too much so that it toasts a little but without burning. Then add the wine and let it evaporate.

Add ½ litre of warm stock, a little saffron and sauté over a low heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon until the liquid is almost dry. Then add the stock little by little until the risotto is cooked. It is very important that you add the stock a little at a time, so that the rice grains release the necessary starch to bind the risotto.

When there are only 2 minutes left until the risotto is cooked, add more salt and saffron to taste and add the prawns with the courgette. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the butter and grated parmesan, stir gently until creamy.

Sprinkle the top with chopped parsley, serve hot and enjoy!

Now you can make your own risotto at home or come to the Il Basilico Madeira restaurant, next to the Lido promenade, to eat this delicacy prepared by our chef. If you fancy a different dish, we have a new Italian menu waiting for you!


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