I am super excited to share a tried and tested, family favourite recipe today – Chilli Garlic Prawn Risotto In Napoli Sauce. After getting really addicted to a seafood risotto that kept popping up at my local café’s special winter menu a few years ago, I decided to try recreating that at home. But with my own twist of course – lighter, dairy-free and packed with more flavour. The slight dusting of parmesan is mainly for the benefit of the boys while we really love ours with just a drizzle of good olive oil.
A risotto that is an ode to sizzling garlic prawns.
Hot sizzling garlic prawns with a crusty sourdough are my favourite when the weather gets cold. And this Garlic Prawn Risotto is an ode to that sizzling prawn dish. With saffron and chilli and all the herbs. And a secret sauce that makes this risotto absolutely vibrant, tangerine, acidic, creamy and luscious – My beautiful Napoli Sauce. When I cook this sauce and get my risotto going, I discover my inner Italian. The tantalizing aromas as I stir the risotto transport me to a little Italian trattoria by the sea and I dream of sun-kissed, salty holidays along the Italian coast.
What is a Napoli Sauce?
Ideally, a risotto would cook into creamy perfection with just a good stock. But my Garlic Prawn Risotto gets that extra oomph from this gorgeous Napoli sauce that I cook at least once a week and have waiting in my fridge for all my pasta and risotto needs. A Napoli sauce is also known as Neopolitan or Napoletana sauce and is the name given to tomato-based Italian sauces and can be found in most supermarkets and delis.
To me, a Napoli sauce is a rich, luscious, red tomato sauce slowly simmered with caramelized onions, oregano, basil and good aged balsamic vinegar to draw out that bright acidity. I like to use a good passata sauce as a base for my Napoli sauce and I have been using Val Verde passata sauce for many years now. It is made from 100% Italian tomatoes, has no additives and no added sugar. The Val Verde passata is the perfect rich tomato canvas for all my Italian creations.
The secret to a cheese-free risotto.
This Chilli Garlic Prawn Risotto in Napoli Sauce is a dinner favourite in our home, especially on Friday nights when I have been to the fishmonger and come back with beautiful Australian tiger or yamba prawns. I use pre-cooked whole prawns (Australian Tiger or Yamba prawns are great!) and peel them before adding them to the risotto towards the very end. I cook all my risottos without cheese, adding a secret ingredient (nutritional yeast) to get that cheesy umami flavour instead. I also like to finish the dish with a drizzle of a good quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and just a touch of parmesan.
The risotto is a great entertaining recipe for when you have guests over and looks absolutely beautiful served on a platter. Try it because I know you will love it and I would love to hear your feedback in the comments and ratings below. Buon Appetito!
A lighter, dairy free, prawn risotto packed with big juicy Italian flavours from homemade Napoli sauce. The classic chilli garlic prawns re-invented into the most delicious dinner party risotto recipe!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 1 leek, sliced and finely chopped (white only)
- 360g risotto (arborio)rice
- ¼ teaspoon saffron strands
- 150 ml white wine
- 1.25 litres vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 cup (250g) Napoli Sauce (see recipe box below this box for the sauce recipe)
- 500g cooked Tiger or Yamba prawns (heads removed and peeled with tail on)
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- Sea salt flakes, to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil, grated parmesan cheese (optional), fresh oregano and parsley – to serve
- Heat olive oil in a large risotto or sauté pan on medium. Add garlic, chilli flakes and leek. Toss and cook for a few minutes until leek is soft and starting to caramelize.
- Add rice and saffron. Toss and cook for a minute until the rice is glazed.
- Add wine to deglaze the pan and mix well. As the wine starts drying, add a cup of vegetable stock and continue cooking. Reduce heat to medium low and keep stirring. When stock starts drying, add more and continue cooking until all the stock is used up (approximately 25 minutes).
- Add parsley, Napoli sauce, prawns and yeast. Stir and continue cooking for a few more minutes until rice is just cooked and the risotto consistency is like a thick rice pudding. Remove from heat, cover and rest for 5 minutes.
- Serve hot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and a dusting of parmesan (optional).
For a more decadent risotto, reduce stock to 1 litre, increase Napoli sauce to 1 and ½ cups and add ½ cup grated parmesan cheese to the risotto towards the tail end of cooking.
For a purely dairy-free risotto, skip the grated parmesan at the end.
For a vegetarian/vegan risotto, in step 4 instead of prawn – add crispy salt and pepper roasted cauliflower.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 brown or Spanish onions, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 40ml white wine
- 700g Val Verde Passata
- 2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar
- 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add bay leaf, garlic and onion. Sauté for a few minutes until onion starts to soften. Reduce heat to low and cook for approximately 10 minutes until onion is soft and caramelized.
- Increase heat to medium. Add wine to deglaze the pan. Add Val Verde Passata, salt, oregano, basil, sugar, vinegar and black pepper. Mix well.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes until the sauce turns a dark, rich shade. Remove from heat. Allow to cool completely. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge for up to a week.
Disclaimer – This post is sponsored by Val Verde. I have been using the Val Verde passata sauce for many years and love having it handy in my pantry to create my own beautiful pasta sauces.