Fish Risotto

Risotto de Pesce

Chioggia is a tiny little fishing port town near Venice. At 5 o’clock in the morning the famous wholesale fish market leaps into action with restaurateurs from as far away as Milan buying for that day’s menu. All kinds of fish are available, even live sturgeons from a nearby breeding farm. (How does one breed sturgeon, I wonder?) Later in the day, the public fish market begins trading on a wide quayside by one of the more picturesque canals. One of the fishermen, Renato Renier, invited us back for a meal, and his wife Giovanna cooked a delicious mussel and shrimp risotto.

Ingredients

  • 4–5 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 1–3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 7 oz (200 g) risotto rice
  • about pints (1.5 litres) very hot fish stock
  • 4 oz (100 g) cooked prawns 7 oz (200 g) cooked mussels
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Method

Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft but not browned. Add the rice and stir together for about 30 seconds, then add the first ladleful of fish stock. Allow the liquid to become absorbed before you add the next ladleful. Stir constantly while you continue to add stock in this way and cook the rice. After about 10 minutes, the rice should be half cooked.

Setting aside a few cooked prawns and mussels to garnish the finished dish if you feel so inclined, shell the rest and cut them into ¾ inch (2 cm) pieces. Stir them into the rice, add the wine and cook for about 2–3 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and continue to add fish stock and stir until the rice is cooked. It should be tender but still firm to the bite.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in the parsley and arrange the risotto on a warmed platter to serve. You can garnish the platter with cooked mussels in the shell and unpeeled cooked prawns if you have reserved some for this purpose.

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