Risotto is one of the most popular comfort food in Italy. It's versatile and flexible as it can be prepared with any ingredient. Keep in mind that the secret to Italian cooking is to use quality ingredients. It's reminiscent of the wonderful risotto dish I had during a long drive from Paris to Venice. It was also where I was told that we are not supposed to mix cheese and fish in risotto or pasta dish.
For seafood lovers, here's a recipe you can prepare as an accompaniment to a hearty fare, or you can make it the main course of a meal. Buon appetito!
1 pack mixed seafood
400g risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli rice)
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic,chopped
6 tbsp White wine
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 liter fish or vegetable broth
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Prepare seafood mix by defrosting and patting dry with kitchen paper towel.
Before cooking the risotto, bring broth to a boil then turn the flame to the lowest setting possible just to keep it warm. Using cool liquid would stop the risotto from cooking.
Sautée garlic in olive oil. Turn heat to medium and add seafood mix. Stir and cook for no more than 2-3 minutes. This is to flavor the olive oil. Quickly remove seafood with a slotted spoon leaving all flavored oil on the pan. Place seafood mix in a bowl and cover with foil. Set aside.
Using the same pan with flavored oil, on medium heat, add chopped shallot and cook for 3 minutes or until soft. Add rice and stir for 2-3 minutes to coat rice. This seals the rice to maintain its chewy quality. Once the grains are translucent add white wine, keep stirring and let wine evaporate.
Here comes the tricky part, as this is the secret to the creaminess of risotto. Add the broth gradually by adding a ladleful of broth at a time. Stir using a wooden spoon. Never let the risotto dry out and do not cover the pot. When broth is absorbed, add a ladle of broth again and then stir gently. keep going for about 13-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add seafood mix and it is almost done. Continue stirring for 3-5 minutes until rice is cooked al dente ( tender on the outside but firm to the bite in the center). If broth is absorbed during this time, add broth gradually half a ladle at a time as we don't want risotto to be watery but should still flow a little when served.
As a final touch, stir in butter and squeeze in lemon juice.
Sprinkle with parsley before serving.