Basic Seafood Risotto Recipe

The other day, the awful midwest heat wave finally broke … and I was finally in the mood to cook again. Extreme heat just really does nothing for my desire to be in the kitchen!

My husband looked pretty ecstatic when I offered to make a seafood risotto for supper that night – not only was it the first time I’d cooked in a few days, but it was also the first time I’d made risotto since getting all kinds of risotto’ed out in Training for MasterChef last winter. I’d made so much risotto back then – it was something I hadn’t made before getting accepted for the show – that I was pretty sure I never wanted to make it again.

So, here’s what I whipped up: a great basic seafood risotto. I used what we had on hand, but there is plenty of room to adapt this recipe to your own tastes, or what YOU have on hand. Add some saffron, add some fresh or dried herbs of your choice, or add some clams or mussels… even crab. Yum!

This makes a fair amount of risotto, but it freezes pretty well – Porter loves to bring leftovers to work for lunches.


Basic Seafood Risotto
Makes about 6 servings

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 lb arborio rice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups well seasoned chicken or seafood stock – simmering *
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper
1 lb raw shrimp, shelled
1 lb bay scallops
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large pan, sweat onions in butter until translucent. Add garlic and rice, stir well.

Add half of the wine, stirring until wine is almost completely absorbed by the rice. Repeat.

Add stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. As rice absorbs one ladle of stock, add another and continue stirring.

Once rice is almost cooked stir in as much of the lemon zest as you want (we like it really lemony, and use all of it), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add scallops and shrimp along with one final scoop of simmering stock. Stir gently until seafood is cooked through. Remove from heat.

Stir in parmesan cheese and parsley, just until well incorporated and smooth. Serve hot, garnished with more parsley and parmesan.

* For seafood stock, I like to flavor basic chicken broth just before making the risotto. I’ll bring some standard chicken stock up to a simmer, and add shrimp shells, celery, some onion, etc and let it simmer. I like to save little baggies of raw shrimp shells in the freezer for when I need to make some seafood stock.

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