Well, after two days off …not really, transplanting some pot-bound indoor plants and watching them sigh a big sigh of relief, here it is..Monday morning. So..I absolutely love risotto and this is for the hard-core seafood diner. Trust me!
- 2 tbsp. virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 bulb fennel, cored and chopped
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup dry vermouth
- 1/2 tsp. saffron
- 1 pound orzo
- 2 cups clam juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 12 mussels
- 16-18 shrimp. deveined
- 1/2 lb. squid rings
- 1 lb. small clams
- 1 lb. meaty white fish, cut into chunks
- flat leaf parsley leaves for garnish
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and fennel, stirring until just starting to brown. (3 minutes), add the tomato paste and season with a little salt and pepper and continue cooking, stirring constantly for 2 more minutes. Stir in the vermouth and saffron and cook for 1 minute.
Add the orzo and now, using a large ladle, add the clam juice and broth, stirring constantly until the orzo is el dente and the liquid is almost all absorbed. Add the shrimp, squid and baby clams into the pot, stirring under to cover the seafood. Stir gently for about 5 minutes until the seafood is cooked through. Season the fish with salt and pepper and gently tuck under the orzo and cook about 5 minutes more. Let stand for five minutes before serving and sprinkle some of the smaller parsley leaves over.
In warm bowls, ladle out the orzo. If you wish put a few wedges of lemon/lime on the table and let everyone help themselves.
You may need a whip to hold the guests back and stop the neighbours from breaking down your door just to taste this. Enjoy!