Risotto with mussels is an authentic seafood dish from Southern Italy. It is very tasty and easy to make, especially if you are already used to making Italian risotto. Start learning what is Italian risotto and why it is so delicious. And learn how to pronounce risotto.
When making risotto, you always start by sautéing onion or garlic in olive oil or butter. It depends on the recipe you are following: usually olive oil and garlic go with seafood, onion, and butter with mushrooms, pumpkin, or saffron (risotto Milanese).
The correct pronunciation of risotto is ree-ZOH-toh, the stress is on the capital letters. Click Risotto and listen to the correct pronunciation.
To make a regular risotto, once the soffritto is ready, the onion should be transparent and the garlic barely wilted, the rice is added (two handfuls per person are the Italian serving size). The rice should be toasted for 3 to 5 minutes and, once toasted, the dry white wine is added. Allow the alcohol to evaporate and add one ladle of stock at a time, stirring continuously. If the risotto is with seafood, use fish broth, if the risotto is alla Milanese, use meat broth, if with vegetables, go for vegetable broth. The broth must be boiling. Once the rice has absorbed the broth, add another ladle of broth: that's the way the delicious cream forms. Add salt to taste and grated Parmesan cheese. Attention, please: Parmesan is not to be added if the risotto is with seafood. In that case, add some chopped parsley.
1.5 kg of mussels, cozze in Italian
150 ml of dry white wine
6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 litre of homemade fish stock, hot
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
300 g of carnaroli or vialone nano risotto rice
6 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
• Clean the mussels by washing them and rubbing, removing any of the beard.
• If any mussels are open, discard it immediately.
• In a frying pan, place the wine and add the mussels. Cook over a high heat until mussels are open – about 3 to 4 minutes.
• Remove the mussels from the heat and discard the shells, keeping the meat on the side. You can also leave some mussels with the shells on for decoration.
• If any mussels remain closed, do discard it.
• Sieve the liquid of the mussels using a muslin or cloth, so you are sure not to get any sand left from the mussels.
• In a large, heavy bottom pot, place the onion with the olive oil and bring it to the heat.
• Add now the garlic. Sauté for a minute or so.
• Add the rice and toast it well, turning it to coat properly until you see the colour of the rice getting translucent (about 3-4 minutes)
• Add now the mussels liquid. Let the rice absorb it.
• Start now to add a ladleful of stock at a time. You may need to turn the heat down, but remember the rice has to be kept with the boiling temperature. Check for salt and pepper. Keep stirring and keep adding more and more stock until the rice is al dente – about 20 minutes.
• Once the rice is done, remove the rice from the heat and add the mussels. Add the chopped parsley, some extra black pepper.
• Serve immediately.
(Recipes and photo by Luciana Sampogna)