Fried Shrimp and Squash Risotto

I love Risotto and this dish is too delicious not to share with you. Enjoy!

1 large butternut squash
24 uncooked large Tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 large garlic cloves, peeled, smashed, plus 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup cornmeal or fine maize
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock
1 large chopped onion
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (risotto rice)
1/2 cup dry white wine
Vegetable oil (for frying)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 200C/gas 6. Pierce squash several times. Place on baking sheet; roast until tender, about 1 hour. Cool. Cut squash in half; discard seeds. Scoop flesh into food processor and puree until smooth. Use 1 1/2 cups purée for the risotto, you can freeze the rest to use at a later time.

Place prawns, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 smashed garlic cloves in large resealable plastic bag; turn to coat. Chill 2 to 3 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Mix cornmeal or maize with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Add prawns and mix well. Arrange in single layer on large plate.

Preheat oven to 150 C/gas 2. Bring stock to simmer in heavy small saucepan; reduce heat to low and keep hot. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until beginning to brown, stir regularly for about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and 2 teaspoons thyme and stir for 1 minute. Add rice and stir for 1 minute. Add wine then stir until almost absorbed should be a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 cup hot stock and cook until almost all liquid is absorbed while stirring. Continue adding hot stock 1 cup at a time and stirring frequently until rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add enough vegetable oil to heavy frying pan to be able to shallow fry. Heat oil over high heat. Working in 2 batches, fry shrimp until golden brown and cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper-towel-lined baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.

Rewarm reserved 1 1/2 cups squash purée. Add warm puree to risotto and stir until rice is tender but still firm, about 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and remaining 2 teaspoons thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve topped with the fried prawns.


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