Letting briny shrimp and sweet bay scallops cook gently in the creamy rice guarantees perfectly cooked seafood.
SERVES 4 to 6
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS A classic Italian dish, great seafood risotto is a luxurious mix of flavors and textures against a lush backdrop of creamy Arborio rice. With a wide array of seafood to choose from, the preparation can easily become complicated, so we decided to set some limits. We chose universally appealing shrimp and sweet, meaty bay scallops, perfect for their smaller size. We made a quick broth by simmering the shrimp shells in a base of bottled clam juice, chicken broth, and water with bay leaves and canned tomatoes. As for the seafood, we stirred the shrimp and scallops into the fully cooked risotto and allowed them to steam gently in the warm rice, resulting in flawlessly tender seafood. You can substitute 12 ounces of sea scallops, quartered, for the bay scallops. We recommend “dry” scallops, which don’t have chemical additives and taste better than “wet.” Dry scallops look ivory or pinkish; wet scallops are bright white.
12 ounces large shrimp (26 to 30 per pound), peeled and deveined, shells reserved
2 cups chicken broth
2½ cups water
4 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 bay leaves
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cups Arborio rice
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
⅛ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1 cup dry white wine
12 ounces small bay scallops
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1. Bring shrimp shells, broth, water, clam juice, tomatoes, and bay leaves to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Return broth to now-empty saucepan, cover, and keep warm over low heat.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rice, garlic, thyme, and saffron and cook, stirring frequently, until grain edges begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes.
3. Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed, about 3 minutes. Stir in 3½ cups warm broth, bring to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost fully absorbed, 13 to 17 minutes.
4. Continue to cook rice, stirring frequently and adding warm broth, 1 cup at a time, every few minutes as liquid is absorbed, until rice is creamy and cooked through but still somewhat firm in center, 13 to 17 minutes.
5. Stir in shrimp and scallops and cook, stirring frequently, until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Adjust consistency with remaining warm broth as needed (you may have broth left over). Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons oil, parsley, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.