To my mind, 'fruits of the sea' sounds more tempting than seafood, although it is, of course, seafood that you will use to make your risotto. Anchor Fruits de Mer are available in the frozen food cabinet and the advantage of using these is that you can add them halfway through without needing to cook them separately. This recipe gives you a good basic method for risotto, which can be adapted according to taste. For true authenticity, grated Parmesan is never served with fish dishes in Italy.
Fruits of the Sea Risotto
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Pinch of chilli powder
- 500g bag Waitrose Arborio rice
- 1 glass dry white wine, eg, Soave Classico
- 400g bag Anchor Frozen Fruits de Mer, defrosted but not drained
- 1.2 litres fresh fish stock or 4 x 300ml tubs Joubère Fresh Fish Stock, kept at a simmer in a separate pan
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Small dressed crab or 170g can John West Crab in Brine
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- In a large pan, heat half the butter and fry the onion, garlic and chilli powder for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened but not browned. Add the Arborio rice and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring thoroughly to make sure the grains are really hot, but without allowing them to burn.
- When the rice grains are really hot and crackling, add the wine and stir thoroughly. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, stirring. When you add the wine, you will be rewarded by a hiss of steam, which is called il sospiro (the sigh). Again, be careful not to burn the rice at this stage.
- Add the seafood and mix well. Don't forget to include the liquid that has come from the seafood as it was thawing - this will add extra flavour. Continue to stir and add a ladleful of the hot stock. Don't rush - the rice should absorb nearly all the liquid before any more is added.
- Gradually add the remaining stock in batches, stirring continuously between each addition. Every time you add a ladleful of stock, allow about 4 minutes for the rice to absorb the liquid. Take care to keep the rice in contact with the base by scraping down the sides of the pan as you stir.
- When you can draw a wooden spoon through the rice and see a clear space opening up behind it, the rice is almost cooked. Taste the risotto to see if the rice is tender without being too soft, and season. Take the pan off the heat and add the remaining butter, the crabmeat and parsley.
- Make sure the risotto is still quite moist. If it is too dry, add a little more hot stock. Stir gently, cover and leave to rest for 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the plates or serving platter and invite your guests to take their seats. Give the risotto one final stir, and serve at once with a large bowl of mixed salad leaves.
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Cooking time: 25 minutes
- Total time: 40 minutes
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This recipe was first published in Fri Jun 01 01:00:00 BST 2001.