Friday, September 19, 2008

Seafood Risotto

You can use any mixed shellfish or seafood for this Italian risotto, as long as the total weight is similar to that used here. The risotto would also make a very good appetizer or starter for eight. Recipe serves 4-6.


1 pound (500 g) fresh mussels
About 1 cup dry white wine
8 ounces (250 g) sea bass fillet, skinned and cut into pieces
Seasoned flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 scallops with corals separated, white parts halved or sliced, if large
8 ounces (250 g) squid, cleaned and cut into rings
12 large raw prawns or langoustines, heads removed
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cups risotto rice, preferably Carnaroli
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 1/2 pints (1.5 litres) simmering fish stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons double (thickened) cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Scrub the mussels, discarding any that do not close when sharply tapped. Place them in a large saucepan and add 6 tablespoons of the wine. Bring to the boil, cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until all the mussels have opened, shaking the pan occasionally. Drain, reserving the liquid and discarding any mussels that have not opened. Set aside a few mussels in their shells for garnishing; remove the others from their shells. Strain the cooking liquid.
2. Dust the pieces of sea bass in seasoned flour. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the fish for 3-4 minutes until cooked. Transfer to a plate. Add a little more oil to the pan and fry the white parts of the scallops for 1-2 minutes on both sides until tender. Transfer to a plate.
3. Fry the squid for 3-4 minutes in the same pan, adding a little more oil if necessary, then set aside. Lastly, add the prawns or langoustines and fry for a further 3-4 minutes until pink, turning frequently. Towards the end of cooking, add a splash of wine - about 2 tablespoons - and continue cooking so that the prawns become tender, but do not burn. Remove the prawns from the pan. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, remove the shells and legs, leaving the tails intact.
4. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil and fry the shallots and garlic for 3-4 minutes over a gentle heat until the shallots are soft but not brown. Add the rice and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the rice is coated with oil and the grains are slightly translucent. Stir in the tomatoes, with the reserved liquid from the mussels.
5. When all the free liquid has been absorbed, add the remaining wine, stirring constantly. When it has also been absorbed, gradually add the hot stock, one ladle full at a time, continuing to stir the rice constantly and waiting until each quantity of stock has been absorbed before adding the next.
6. When the risotto is three-quarters cooked, carefully stir in all the seafood, except the mussels reserved for the garnish. Continue to cook until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender but still has a bit of "bite".
7. Stir in the parsley and cream and adjust the seasoning. Cover the pan and leave the risotto to stand for 2-3 minutes. Serve in individual bowls, garnished with the reserved mussels in their shells.

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