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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Treasures of the Sea Risotto

I recently made a risotto full of seafood for my in-laws. We were so busy catching up, I didn't take any photos of the finished dish, so this photo is from a different time. Instead of freshly cracked crab, as in the photo, I topped the one for the larger Mann clan with lots of prawns. But the process of making risotto remains the same.

The secret to risotto, as Maria told me, is stirring: usa il cucchiao...sempre. Use your spoon...always; keep stirring.

Maria was the cook for the Nuzzo family who was ordered to teach me all her recipes. Then she was fired and I was tasked with cooking for the family six days a week. Thankfully she didn't blame me for the impossible situation and we stayed close throughout the year that I was there. And sometimes when I cook, I hear her instructions in my head.


makes 8 servings

  • 1 organic white onion, peeled and diced (approximately 1-1/2 cups)

  • 2 Tablespoons butter

  • splash of olive oil

  • 3 cups arborio rice

  • 8 cups liquid (I used a mixture of fish stock and water)

  • 3 cups mixed seafood (I used scallops, shrimp, and squid) plus more for serving (think large prawns or cracked crab)

  • 8 ounces mascarpone cream

  • freshly ground pepper to taste

  • freshly ground salt to taste

  • Also needed: parmigiano reggiano for serving


Bring your stock and water to a boil. Then reduce it to a simmer and keep it on a burner adjacent to your risotto pan.

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter with a splash of olive oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the onions. Cook until onions are translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add in the rice and stir until completely coated with oil and butter. Stir in the mixed seafood.

Add one ladle of simmering broth at a time, stirring, stirring, and stirring some more till the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until the rice is soft. If you need more liquid, just add more; if you don't use all of the stock, that's okay, too.

Fold in the mascarpone cheese. Let stand for five minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon out individual servings and top with large poached prawns or cracked crab. Serve immediately.

Let diners sprinkle with freshly grated cheese, if desired.

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