Seafood Risotto – a creamy, nutty, rich, and buttery risotto that is loaded with seafood. A decadent and delicious meal for a holiday, date night, or anytime.
Risotto is one of those dishes that can be intimidating to the home cook. Ordering it at a restaurant can even be hit or miss. In true Northern Italian cuisine, risotto is ia rich and creamy dish that resembles large rice grains in gravy. It is served standalone as an entree and sometimes topped with locally caught seafood.
What is Risotto?
Risotto is the name of the dish while arborio is the name of the rice used to make the dish. It is a short, fat grain making it ideal for soaking up flavors and broth.
The most popular variations of include mushroom, parmesan, lobster and shrimp. We took lobster risotto and shrimp risotto and combined them for the ultimate seafood risotto dish. This is prepared traditionally, which means it takes nearly an hour from start to finish and does require hands-on time, however the method is really not complicated at all.
For those busy night when you really want a hands off version, try our make Instant Pot Risotto.
Ingredients for Seafood Risotto
Unfortunately this recipe isn’t one of those “kitchen staple” types, you’ll likely have to do a little special shopping to make it happen. And if lobster tails and shrimp are part of your daily ingredient list, please feel free to invite me over for dinner (wink, wink).
- Seafood- We used two large lobsters tails and shrimp, these are the simplest to prepare. It is slightly less expensive to buy a whole lobster, of which you’d only need one, and use the claw meat as well, but will also require more work on your part. Other types of seafood can also be added or swapped. Scallops, mussels, clams and langostinos are popular too.
- Olive oil- keeping with Italian traditions, we used extra-virgin olive oil, but any neutral oil will work.
- Salt & Pepper- For seasoning.
- Butter- If you used a salted butter, correct additional salt seasoning as needed to prevent it from being too salty.
- Red onion- great for color and texture, the flavor can vary from mild to spicy. Give yours a quick taste test before chopping and adjust the amount accordingly to your family’s preferences. If you want to subdue the onion flavors, use a sweet Spanish onion or shallots.
- Arborio rice – What makes it risotto, do not substitute.
- Dry white wine– Use a store bought cooking wine, which is usually also salted for shelf life or grab a bottle of dry pino grigio or sauvignon blanc. Chardonnay seems to be a go-to, but commonly has oaky notes that can overpower the delicate seafood.
- Chicken stock- or vegetable stock. Again, Low sodium is best so you have full control over the saltiness.
- Parmesan cheese– freshly grate your own for the best melty texture. This is also an occasion where long-aged cheese isn’t ideal. Aged parmesan cheese develops little crystals, which are fabulous for charcuterie boards, but not ideal for melting or sauces.
How to Make Seafood Risotto
Risotto is not hard to make, but it is ideal to have a good understanding of the concept before starting. The creaminess does come in part from Parmesan cheese, but mostly from starch being released from the grains of rice while stirring. This is the exact opposite from most rice preparation methods that want you to not touch the rice and then simply “fluff” to prevent mushiness.
Adding liquids slowly prevent the rice from being overwhelmed, allowing it to absorb slowly and create the velvety broth around it. You’ll know it is time to add the next batch of liquid when you can run a spoon down the center and the mixture stays firm in two mountains on the side. If it falls back together, then it needs a few more minutes. At the very end, it should be more of a thick stew and not stand in mountains at all.
- Start by cooking the seafood. Making it separately ensures that it is cooked to tender perfection. Season the lobster tails and then cook in the oven until opaque. Remove cooked meat from the shells and roughly chop.
- Cook the shrimp along with the lobster tails. Set all cooked seafood aside.
- Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan and keep warm. Using warm liquid is essential to the process because it won’t drastically decrease the overall temperature after each addition.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet. Allow it to foam and brown, creating more flavor, and then add the onions, sauteing until soft and fragrant.
- Add the rice and stir to coat in the browned butter. Add the wine first and stir until it is fully absorbed. Adding the wine first ensures this specific flavor is locked into the rice grains.
- Next, ladle borth into the mixture about 1 cup at a time (most ladles are about 1 cup). Let it absorb fully before adding more.
- When all added, you should have plump rice in a buttery gravy.
- Lastly, add the remaining butter and parmesan cheese to further thicken.
- Taste test first and then season with salt and pepper. Depending on the saltiness of the broth, cheese and butter salt might not even be needed.
- Divide the risotto in serving dishes and then top with cooked seafood. Chopped flat leaf parsley can be used to add a pop of color.
Risotto can be prepared ahead of time and since it is so time consuming, that is great to hear! Reheat it on the stovetop in a large skillet. Have additional wine or stock on hand to thin the gravy and liven it back up.
Store leftover in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Unfortunately, risotto isn’t as freezer friendly as other rices. Because of the amount of starch released, it doesn’t thaw well and can be gritty.
- Two 4 ounce lobster tails
- 3/4 pound large shrimp peeled & deveined
- olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 cup red onion finely chopped
- 1 and 1/2 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 4 to 5 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Prep lobster tails by removing the inner shell. Using a kitchen sheers, but down each side of the shell, peel back, and remove.
3. Season the tails with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil, and bake for about 18 minutes. Once cooked, remove the meat from the shell, and roughly chop.
4. To prepare the shrimp toss in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake with lobster tails for 7 minutes, or until pink and opaque.
5. Heat chicken stock in sauce pan over medium heat.
6. Meanwhile heat 3 Tbps of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Let the butter melt, and a foam form on the top. Once the butter starts to brown (about 2 minutes later), add the onions. Saute for 3 minutes, or until soft.
7. Add rice, stirring to coat. Mix in the wine, and let cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.
8. Add 1 ladle of chicken stock. Stir and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Add another ladle of stock. Keep going until the rice is al dente.
9. Remove from heat, stir in remaining 1 Tbsp butter, Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.
10. Add shrimp and lobster to risotto to serve.
Amount Per Serving Calories 585Total Fat 24gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 205mgSodium 2029mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 1gSugar 15gProtein 46g
Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on dinnersdishesanddesserts.com should only be used as a general guideline.
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