Seafood Risotto

I first made this seafood risotto several years ago for my friend Shelley. Her then boyfriend (now husband) Tom was in town and I had the two of them over for dinner. Despite the fact that Shelley is a vegetarian, I decided to roast a large piece of meat. Being that I am not a complete monster, I found this simple seafood risotto from Cooking Light that I thought Shelley would enjoy. Plus it was easy enough to make while the roast did its thing in the oven. Needless to say, the side entrée outshone the roast that was supposed to be the centerpiece of the meal. I can’t even remember what meaty animal I served that evening, but I do remember the creaminess and comfort of the risotto, with bites of shrimp, scallops, and tomatoes.

These days, I make the risotto a few times a year, mostly on Fridays because it does not reheat well for lunch the next day and also because it is great fuel for my Saturday long runs. The key to this risotto is the use of clam juice which adds a rich seafood taste to the cooking broth. The mere two tablespoons of cream (or half and half) makes the risotto seem more decadent than it is. The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of butter but I normally use olive oil instead to make the dish more responsible. This recipe serves two, but can be doubled if you’d like. If you want to increase the ratio of seafood to rice, you will also have to decrease the amount of chicken broth or else the risotto will turn out too runny.

Seafood Risotto (adapted from Cooking Light Magazine)
INGREDIENTS:
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (8 oz.) bottle clam juice
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup shallots, chopped
1/2 cup uncooked Arborio rice
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 oz. bay scallops
2 tablespoons half and half (or heavy cream)
Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
Bring broth and clam juice to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Pour olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots to pan; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

Add rice and saffron to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add lemon juice to pan; cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly.

Stir in 1/2 cup hot broth mixture; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 18 minutes total).

Stir in tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Stir in shrimp and scallops; cook for 4 minutes or until shrimp and scallops are done, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat; stir in cream. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

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