Seafood Risotto—Recipe from an Italian Memory

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          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.

Procedures:

– 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.   
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– 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.

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

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– 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.

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– 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”.

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

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          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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