Serves 4 to 6
Risotto di mare means risotto of the sea, and here I use shrimps and scallops, but as its name suggests, it can be made with any fish of your preference. It could be made with clams and mussels, or firm fish like monkfish. The rule to observe is cooking time. Clams and mussels take about 8 to 10 minutes to open up and cook, while monkfish takes about 15 minutes. When cooking fish, it is important not to overcook it, so keep this in mind if you choose to vary the kind of fish.
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- 6 to 7 cups hot water
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 leeks, white and light-green parts, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and finely chopped, plus 1/2 cup chopped tender fronds
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio or other short-grain Italian rice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- Kosher salt
- 8 ounces medium-sized shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, shrimp halved lengthwise
- 8 ounces sea scallops, side muscle or "foot" removed, scallops halved vertically if large
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Put the saffron in a measuring cup, and ladle over it 1 cup hot water. Let it steep while you begin the risotto.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion, and fennel, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice, and stir to coat it in the oil. Cook until the rice grains are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, and cook until it’s absorbed. Add the saffron and soaking liquid and enough additional hot water to cover the rice, and cook until it’s absorbed. Season with salt to taste. Continue to stir and add stock as it is absorbed until the rice is al dente, adding the shrimp and scallops when the rice is 4 to 5 minutes from being ready. The process should take about 18 minutes from the first addition of liquid, with the final product still a bit loose, but not runny.
Off heat, beat in the parsley, butter, and reserved fennel fronds, and serve.