Risotto ‘alla Pescatora’ (Fisherman-style risotto with seafood)

Serves Icon
Time 25 Minutes
plus 2 hours and 20 minutes to clean fish and make fish stock
  • 350g Vialone nano rice (alternatively use Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 1 cleaned squid tube (approximately 300g)
  • 500g mussels
  • 500g clams
  • 500g medium-sized prawns
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 40g tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
Brodo di Pesce (fish stock)
  • 1 kg fish bones and fish heads for stock (ask your local fishmonger), roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ leek, well washed, cut in half lengthways and roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsley stalks
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 200ml white wine
  • 4L cold water
  • Sea salt

How to Make It
Step 1

To make the Brodo di Pesce (fish stock), rinse the fish bones under cold running water. Rinse prawns under cold running water and remove the prawn heads (set aside the prawn tails). Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and leek. Cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the carrot and celery. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes or until the onion and leek are soft. Add the fish bones and heads, prawn heads, bay leaf, parsley and peppercorns and cook for 2-3 minutes, then pour over the white wine. Cook for 2 minutes then add the water and salt to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1.5 hours. Remove from the heat. Strain the brodo di pesce (fish stock) through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, using the back of the ladle to extract as much flavour as possible. If not used within 1 hour, refrigerate the stock until ready to use.

Tip: Brodo di pesce (fish stock) can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 1 day and frozen for up to 1 month.

Step 2

Meanwhile to prepare the seafood:
Cut the squid tubes into 1cm thick rings and consistent sized pieces.
Use a firm brush to scrub the mussels and clams under cold running water to remove sand and barnacles. Discard any shells that are chipped, broken, or damaged in any way. Soak the clams in cold water for 20 minutes to remove remaining sand stored inside the shells. Pick the clams out of the water and transfer to a bowl. Do not pour the clams with water into a colander as the sand will find its way back into the shells. Just before cooking, de-beard the mussels by holding a mussel between your thumb and forefinger. Using a paper towel to hold the beard and pull it downwards until it comes out and discard.
Remove the prawn tail, then peel off the shell and legs. To de-vein the prawn, use a sharp knife to cut a small line that runs down the length of the prawn’s back. Use the tip of the knife to pull out the intestinal tract and discard. Place the prawns onto a chopping board and use a sharp knife to chop into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a plate, cover with cling film and refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 3

Heat the fish stock over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer.

Step 4

Heat half of the olive oil in a in a large, deep-frying pan (or stockpot) over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mussels, clams and 50ml of the white wine. Increase the heat to high and cook, covered, for 3 minutes or until the mussels and clams open. Transfer the mussels, clams and cooking juices to a bowl. Discard any mussels and clams that don’t open.

Step 5

To make the ‘soffritto’ (sautéed base flavouring) for the risotto, heat the remaining olive oil in the frying pan (or stockpot) over medium heat. Stir in the chopped onion and chilli. Cook for 3 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the squid and tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and after 2 minutes, pour in the remaining white wine (100ml). Cook, stirring, until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Step 6

Add a ladleful of the hot fish stock, stirring constantly. When the stock has been absorbed, stir in another ladleful. Stir in the mussels and clams with cooking juices. Continue to add ladleful’s of stock, stirring and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next for 9 minutes. Stir the prawns into the risotto over the heat, stirring constantly for a further 7 minutes or until the prawns are cooked through and the rice is ‘al dente’.

Step 7

Remove the frying pan (or stockpot) from the heat. Stir in the parsley and serve immediately – buon appetito.

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