The first time that I cooked a risotto I was 11 years old. My mum had a Reader’s Digest cookbook that I would thumb through and scribble nonsensical notes in – I wrote my name on the inside cover. There was something about a list of what seemed like unrelated items amounting to a perfect plate of food that I found fascinating. It was a call for creation, and I was a creative kid.
Tearing through the pages I stopped at Seafood Risotto, with ingredients like scallops that I had never tried before I was intrigued. It seemed like a challenge, I mean I didn’t even know what risotto was! I showed the recipe to my mum and she agreed to let me make it. She could see that it would make me happy, and somehow trusted that I wouldn’t burn the house down.
And so we made a list: whole prawns, squid, scallops, arborio rice, and we went out to gather the ingredients needed. I put on her apron and she helped me weigh out the rice and behead the prawns, set aside enough butter and chopped the onion and garlic. Then she left me to my own devices, keeping a watchful eye from the other side of the room.
The risotto was overcooked and mushy, it wasn’t seasoned enough and I’d added too much cheese. The kitchen was a mess, and I was covered in tomato sauce. She said it was delicious.
Since then I’ve improved my risotto making skills and thought up my own lists of unrelated items to put together. This seafood risotto is made with cod, clams and scallops, fresh herbs and garden peas. Intensely comforting and a perfect meal for real foodie days. My friend Becky and I cooked this in her beautiful kitchen over the weekend, and it reminded me of just how much I love this recipe. I hope you enjoy it too!
Fisherman’s Risotto (cod + clams + scallops + peas)
1 white onion, diced
400g risotto rice
150ml dry white wine
1.5 litres vegetable stock
500g skinless and boneless cod loins or fillets, cut into rough chunks
200g garden peas, frozen or fresh
500g clams, washed
12-18 scallops (2-3 per person), depending on size available
Fresh dill and parsley
Pecorino Romano cheese
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil with a knob of butter and add the onion. Cook on a medium heat until softened but not browned, around 10 minutes.
Add the rice and stir, then pour in the wine. Once the wine has cooked down start to add the stock by the ladle full. Stir the rice often to prevent sticking and to help release the starch.
About 2/3 of the way through adding the stock, add the cod pieces and continue to cook the risotto as before. Then when you have around 250ml of stock left add the peas.
Once you’ve finished adding all of the stock the risotto should be cooked, creamy but not runny, and slightly al dente. Stir in 100g grated pecorino, a handful of parsley and dill, a bit of butter and season to taste with black pepper and salt if needs be.
Add the clams on top of the rice, cover the pan and leave on the side to steam. Meanwhile prepare the scallops by sautéing in a pan with some olive oil, about 1 minute on each side.
Serve the risotto topped with scallops, freshly grated pecorino cheese and fresh herbs.