This recipe is best prepared with a friend. Someone to prepare the risotto & someone to prep and poach the seafood. Start by assembling all of your ingredients. Have everything chopped and ready. All of the seafood should rinsed in cold water and placed on paper towel to dry and the white fish should be cut into cubes.
1 8 to 10 oz piece of white fish (I have used kingklip, hake and tilapia)
3 to 4 oz of calamari tubes
3 to 4 oz of prawns peeled & deveined
(You can change the type of seafood you use to suit your taste or availability in your area.)
1/2 to 1 cup BeauJoubert Savignon Blanc (plus one bottle to drink while preparing the risotto)
6 to 8 cups of chicken stock
1 1/2 cups of arborio rice (risotto rice)
1 medium fennel bulb (washed, stalks removed, and bulb cut into small pieces)
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 pinch of saffron threads
1 small Thai red chili finely chopped
1 tomato seeded and chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 lemon seeded & sliced for serving
2 tbsp lemon zest soaked in 1/4 cup of olive oil
Put your chicken stock in a large sauce pan and heat to a simmer. Place a large fry pan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of the butter & 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Add the onion & fennel. Gently fry until the onions are translucent and the fennel is soft. Add the garlic, chili & saffron and cook until fragrant. Add the risotto rice and sauté stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Adjust the heat to med/low and begin adding the stock one ladle at a time, stirring and allowing all the liquid to absorb before adding another ladle. Timing is everything with risotto. So pour yourself a glass of Savignon Blanc and relax & stir. Don’t rush.
Meanwhile, your partner can begin poaching the seafood in the pot of simmering chicken stock. Start with the white fish. Add the cubes to the pot, allow to cook until opaque and slightly firm approximately 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a platter. Next poach the calamari tubes in the same manner approximately 3 minutes, then the prawns or whatever seafood you are using. Keep in mind that the seafood will be added back to the risotto and will cook a little longer in the final steps of the recipe.
By now, you should be down to the last few ladles of stock. Your risotto is almost ready. Use a small spoon and taste the rice. It should be al dente, if so stop adding stock. Add the tomatoes, parsley, remaining butter & olive oil, Parmesan, poached fish & add salt & pepper if needed. Gently stir all ingredients to incorporate into the rice.
Add to serving bowls garnish with shaved Parmesan, lemon/olive oil and lemon.
I like to serve the risotto with some stemmed asparagus. Enjoy!
Recipe by Renee Hilliard