One pan dinners are a busy cook’s dream! Perfect for hectic weeknight meals, they can be elegant and beautiful as well as delicious and filling! This recipe for Seafood Risotto is a great example of all of those things!
This month’s theme for Fish Friday Foodies is One Pan Dinners: The task set by Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories was to make a meal with fish that can be prepared in just one pan (Sheet pans, Dutch ovens, skillet, or Casserole dishes) and perfect for the busy cook.
One pan dinners are becoming all the rage lately. Everyone is busy and they are a great way to prepare an entire meal quickly, and lessen cleanup. Since fish generally takes a very little amount of time to cook, I thought a risotto, where the fish is added toward the end of the cooking would be perfect.
Risotto is a dish originating from northern Italy which utilizes rice and broth stirred and cooked to a creamy consistency. High starch, short-grain white rice (such as Arborio) are preferred, since it’s the release of the starch that creates the creamy texture of the dish.
For this version, I first toasted the rice in a combination of olive oil and butter. To that I added shallot and garlic to saute. Once they softened a bit, I added extra dry vermouth (I love using this in cooking because of the flavor impact of the roots, barks, flowers, seeds, herbs, and spices with which vermouth is aromatized).
After the vermouth had a chance to cook off a bit, I added some warm stock. For mine, I used a lobster stock I had in the freezer, but a store-bought seafood stock (or even chicken or vegetable stock) would work just fine. Along with the stock, I added thyme sprigs, a pinch of saffron and some diced tomatoes.
The trick to obtaining the creamy texture of risotto is to use warm stock and to add it a bit at a time, stirring the rice to help the starch to release. It’s not necessary to stand over the pot the entire time, stirring. Just add a bit of stock, stir it, and allow the stock to be absorbed before adding more and repeating the process until the rice is cooked.
I used a variety of seafood for this recipe, but you can use whatever you like or can get fresh! I had large sea scallops, mussels, jumbo shrimp, and small lobster tails (that I split length-wise). As I said earlier, seafood doesn’t take long to cook. So what I did with mine was to pan sear the scallops first (before I started anything else) and set them aside. The rest of the seafood was added to the cooking risotto, based on how long it would take to cook.
As the rice was almost al dente, I added the lobster tails, then a few minutes later the mussels, then once the mussels started opening, I added the shrimp; this allowed none of the seafood to overcook and toughen. The already pan seared scallops were added at the very end to just heat through as I drizzled a bit of brandy and some melted butter over the top of the risotto and garnished it with some chopped flat-leaf parsley.
Served with a crusty bread (crisped directly on the rack in the oven) and some lemon wedges for squeezing, this was a quick, gorgeous and delicious meal prepared all in one pan! I hope you’ll try it!
- 2½ cups stock (fish, chicken or vegetable), warmed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large sea scallops
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup minced shallot
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1⅓ cups Arborio rice
- ⅓ cup extra dry vermouth
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 pinch of saffron
- ½ cup diced tomatoes
- 2 small lobster tails, split length-wise (kitchen shears are great for this task)
- 12 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 8 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- In an extra-large skillet, or paella pan, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and spread it out over the surface of the pan.
- Add the scallops and sear on each side until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side), remove to a plate and set aside.
- Lower the temperature to medium.
- Add the first 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan and allow to melt.
- Add the shallot, stir to coat with the butter and oil and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the rice, stir to coat in the butter and oil and cook to toast the rice (about 1 minute),
- Add the vermouth and allow to cook for until it's nearly absorbed by the rice.
- Add the thyme sprigs, saffron, tomatoes and about ½ cup of the warmed stock.
- Stir to combine and allow to cook until the liquid is almost absorbed (about 3 minutes)
- Continue adding stock in this manner until you have just ½ cup remaining.
- Once you add the final ½ cup of stock, begin adding the seafood in order of the amount of time required for cooking. Lobster tails first, for about 3 minutes. Then the mussels for about three minutes more. Then the shrimp for about 2 minutes. Then add back in the seared scallops.
- Cover and allow the liquid to be fully absorbed, the seafood to turn opaque and the rice to be al dente.
- Remove from heat and add the brandy, final two tablespoons of melted butter, salt and ground black pepper (to taste) and the parsley.
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges for squeezing.
Be sure to check out all the other One Pan Seafood dishes prepared by other participating bloggers in the links below.