Seafood Risotto—Recipe from an Italian Memory


          A few years ago while in middle school, I went on a trip to Venice where I had a chance to taste a uniquely flavored risotto. While eating the soupy risotto, a subtle flavor of fresh seafood permeated my palate, leaving a lasting impression in my mind. Seafood risotto—one of the many wonderful Italian foods we love, is one dish I have been hoping to experiment since my trip to Italy.   

          And here is my own recipe to cook a home-made seafood risotto. 

Ingredients (3 servings):

  • About 1 to 2 pounds of fresh fish bones and heads
  • About ½ to 1 pound of white rice
  • Olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • About ¼ ounces of shaved parmesan cheese
  • About ¼ cup of white wine
  • Salt
  • Your choice of seafood. I used sea bass and stuffed clam.
  • Your choice of vegetable. I used spinach.


– Boil a pot of water. When water boils, add fish bones and heads. Boil for about 5 minutes on high heat. Turn off the heat. Pick the pieces of fish meats from the boiled fish bones and heads. Discard the water.  

– Place the cleaned pot over medium-high heat, and add ½ cup of olive oil. When oil sizzles, add chopped garlic (3 cloves) and chopped onion (1/2) into the pot, and turn the heat to low. Cook for about 2 minutes, and stir often.   

– Add the fish bones, heads, and pieces of fish meat to the pot. Add about 8 cups of water. Turn up the heat to medium. When the broth simmers, add a little salt, and turn the heat down to low again. Close the cover, and cook for about 1 hour.

–  When the broth has been cooked for about 1 hour, start cooking risotto by adding ½ cup of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. When oil is heated, add chopped garlic (3 cloves) and chopped onion (1/2) into the pan. Stir for about 1 minute, add about 1 pound of white rice into the pan. Stir often and cook for about 3 minutes.


– Add about 4 ounces of shaved parmesan cheese and ¼ cup of white wine into the rice, and stir to combine.


– When the pan gets dry, add about 1 cup of the fish broth to the pan. Best to pour the broth through a strainer so that only the broth (not the fish debris) is poured into the pan. Stir to allow the rice to absorb the broth. Add a little salt if needed.


– Repeat the process of adding broth and stirring until rice is fully cooked.

– When rice is ready, add a final cup of broth before you serve to make it “soupy”.


– Meanwhile, cook some seafood and vegetable to go with the risotto. I cooked some fine sea bass, stuffed clams, and spinach.     







          Ready to go!

          While my recipe and cooking may not match the authentic signature seafood risotto in Venice, my experiment has brought me a delightfully tasty dinner—and a fond memory of Italy and its rich culture. Hope it will bring some pleasure to you too.  

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