Seafood Risotto with Spinach and Peas

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

This risotto is a study in contrasts, the sweetness of the crab or fish combined with the tartness of lemon, the bitter tang of watercress, and the additional sweetness of peas. It is very beautiful to look at, but I imagine it won’t be sitting in front of you very long.


  • 5 to 6 cups Chicken Stock or combination Chicken Stock and Fish Fumet
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • pounds crabmeat, picked over for cartilage and broken into large pieces; or sole fillets, cut into 4 by 2-inch strips; or salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch squares
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • cups diced onions
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 9 cups combination spinach leaves and watercress or all spinach leaves, cut into chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest covered with 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • cups fresh peas, blanched
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


    Heat the chicken stock to boiling in a saucepan, then reduce the heat and hold at a simmer.

    Heat the half the butter in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper, add it to the pan, and sauté it quickly. If you are using crab-meat, just warm it in a little butter for a minute. If you don’t have a very large pan, cook it in batches.

    Heat the remaining butter and the oil in a wide heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring to coat with butter, until opaque, about 3 minutes.

    Add ½ cup hot stock and cook, stirring constantly, until the stock is absorbed. Continue adding the stock, ½ cup at a time, and stirring until the rice is almost completely cooked. Add the greens, garlic, and lemon zest with juice; cook, stirring constantly, until the greens are wilted. Add the fish or crab, peas, and parsley; cook just 2 to 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. No cheese, please.