I walked with my friend Rovana to the coffee shop this morning, enjoyed our morning exercise and then drove to the market to pick up some shellfish. I had plans for a seafood risotto for days, since I received this new Acquerello rice from Italy, aged for at least one year and then refined and reintegrated with its precious bud. Also it is the only rice with the nutritional values of brown rice. It was outstanding !
I also wanted to try Mario Batali’s new Pinot Grigio, and what better way then to integrate it in this meal and share a glass with my girl friend for lunch. Turned out to be one of the better tasting white wines I’ve had, a little fruity but very clean and fresh, just a perfect addition to this flavorful risotto.
We took the time and made our own stock with the shrimp and crab shells and really believe it made all the difference in the world. I hope you’ll consider giving it a try yourself.
Buon Appetito !
Shellfish Risotto Recipe
- 1 1/2 c Acquerello Carnaroli rice
- 8 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbs butter
- 1 small onion -diced
- 1 1/2 c white wine
- 1 1/2 c grape or cherry tomatoes -quartered
- 5 garlic cloves -grated
- 3/4 lb medium size shrimp -cleaned & reserve the shells
- 1/2 lb littleneck clams or baby clams -scrubbed clean
- 1/2 lb mussels -cleaned & bears removed
- meat from 1 crab leg -cooked & reserve the shell
- 5 tbs flat leaf Italian parsley -minced
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 1 lemon
- sea salt to taste
(makes 2 qt )
- 2 qt purified water
- Shells from 3/4 lb of shrimp
- The shell from the crab leg
- 1 carrot -cut into chunks
- 1 celery stalks – cut into chunks
- 5 parsley sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 of a small onion
- 5 peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp sea salt + more to taste
- pinch of red pepper flakes
1. Start making the seafood stock by combining all the stock ingredients in a large pot and simmering on low flame for 1 hour. Remove from the flame and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the saffron and keep warm.
2. In a heavy bottom sauce pan heat up 3 tbs of butter and tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Add the minced onion with a pinch of sea salt and sweat it on low heat for about 10 minutes until translucent. Stir in your Acquerello carnaroli rice and allow it to toast for a few minutes until no longer opaque.
3. Add the wine to the pan and stir until almost all is absorbed but do not let the rice dry out completely. Continue by adding the saffron infused stock a ladle at the time waiting for the rice to absorb it before adding more. Make sure to maintain a constant ripple and never let the rice dry out.
4. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes or until the rice grains are tender but have a little bite, al dente. Remove from the heat while it has the consistency of cream and stir in 1 tbs of butter for a silky finish .
5. About 10 minutes before your risotto is done start cooking the seafood. Heat up a stainless steel skillet with 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil over medium flame. Pat dry the shrimp with paper towels and drizzle it with 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Season with a pinch of sea salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Mix together with the grated garlic and add it to the hot skillet. Toss it around a couple of times and only cook it for a minute or two until it curls up and turns pink. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with a little freshly squeezed lemon juice.
6. Add the tomatoes to the pan with a pinch of sea salt and hit it with the 1/4 c of the white wine. Using a silicone spatula make sure to scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes until the tomatoes start releasing their juices and they form a nice sauce with the wine. Add the cooked shrimp with the juices back to the pan together with the crab meat and 3 tbs of the minced parsley. Gently toss to coat and drizzle with a little more lemon juice and olive oil. Adjust seasoning and set aside.
7. In a different skillet heat up the remaining 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil over medium flame and add your clams and mussels. Hit it with a splash of stock or wine and cover with a lid. Cook until they open, about 3-5 minutes and discard all the unopened ones.
Divide your risotto between 4 plates and top each with 5 shrimps, 4 clams, 3 mussels and 2 pieces of the crab meat. Drizzle the entire plate with a spoon fool of the tomato and wine sauce from the shrimp and crab. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top and sprinkle with some parsley. ( you may also drizzle the risotto with little bit of the juices from the clams and mussels if you prefer )
Serve hot with a cold glass of Pinot Grigio.