Recipe: Wild Mushroom Risotto with Prawns and Hot-Smoked Guanciale

This recipe by The Prodigal Daughter founder Rachel Priestly showcases her own Italian- styled cured meats. The Prodigal daughter won the Paddock Crafted category of the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards, read more on the awards here.

Pork and prawns go so well together, especially when the pork is smoked. At this time of year I love serving them together on top of a risotto made with a mixture of wild field mushrooms. Use what you can forage, otherwise there are good dried varieties imported from France that can be reconstituted in boiling water and added to the risotto before it is cooked through.

Don’t be afraid of using cheese in a risotto when seafood is involved. I love to use a local pecorino with this dish. One of my favourites, Wairarapa Jack, is made by Miles at Kingsmeade Cheese. It is 100 percent ewe’s milk from the finest flock of milking sheep in New Zealand. It really finishes this dish.


½ an onion
60ml extra virgin olive oil
300g carnaroli rice
60g smoked cultured butter
3 cloves garlic
½ cup dry white wine
500ml vegetable stock
12 prawns, shelled except for the tails
50g dried mixed mushrooms, reconstituted in boiling water
8 slices hot-smoked guanciale
90g Wairarapa Jack Kingsmeade
pecorino, grated


Sauté finely diced onion in oil until soft, add rice, half the butter and a little salt and stir constantly with a wooden spoon to toast but not over-colour. Stir in two crushed garlic cloves. Add ice-cold white wine, something with good acidity like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. Warm vegetable stock and ladle into the mixture, stirring over medium heat as the rice absorbs the liquid.

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Meanwhile, toss prawns in a hot pan with a dash of extra virgin olive oil and the last clove of garlic and cook for 30 seconds on each side; set aside.
The rice should be almost cooked by now so stir in mushrooms and take off the heat. Check seasoning, adding a little pepper. The guanciale will add a nice salty zing so you shouldn’t need to add extra salt. Mix in the remaining butter and pecorino.

To serve, pile the risotto into serving dishes, place the prawn tails and guanciale on top and grill until the guanciale sizzles to a crisp. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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