I love the warm-all-over feeling that creamy rice dishes give us on a cold rainy night, and love the spicy flavors of Spain and Portugal. In this dish I wanted to combine them both and made a risotto out of a favorite paella dish I created some time ago. I used my Chicken Stock with a Mexican Twist that was an editors pick this week, although your favorite chicken stock will work fine here. I infused the stock with saffron threads which combines with the grated tomatoes, sausage, clams and shrimp to bring in the paella flavors but used arborio rice and cooked it in the traditional risotto style. The result is great bold flavors softened by the creaminess of the dish. Enjoy! —TheWimpyVegetarian
your favorite chicken broth
saffron threads crumbled (about 40 little threads)
Bring the chicken broth to a simmer, add the saffron threads, and continue to keep very warm.
Wash the clams of sand and grit and place in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Cover the pot and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the clams open. Remove from the pot. When cool enough to handle, remove the clam meat from the shells and coarsely chop. Set aside.
Brown the sausage in a saute pan with a little olive oil. Drain and set aside.
Heat enough olive oil to almost cover the shrimp in a pan, add the crushed garlic, thyme sprig and shrimp to the oil. Keep the oil temperature just below a simmer to cook the shrimp slowly - about 15 minutes. Set aside.
Using the same saute pan used for browning the sausage, saute the onion in the sausage drippings, adding a little olive oil if needed. Saute the onion until soft and transluscent. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook another minute. Add the thyme, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and cook for another minute.
Add the rice and stir to coat the rice with the sauteed onion mixture. Brown the rice for about 1 minute and add the wine. Once the wine has been absorbed, add 1 cup of hot saffron infused chicken broth. Stir the rice with a metal spoon while it cooks in the broth. Cut the tomatoes in half, seed them and grate them on a coarse cheese grater, discarding the skins. Stir the grated tomatoes into the rice at any time while it's cooking.
As soon as you can sweep your spoon through the rice without the rice filling up the gap created by the spoon, it's time to add another cup of broth. Be careful not to allow the pot to become so dry that the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pot. If this happens, immediately remove the pot from the heat and add broth. Wait 10 seconds and start to carefully stir. If done soon enough, this will unstick the rice from the bottom. Continue with this process of gradually adding broth until the rice is done. When done, it should be tender, but 'al dente' and have a creamy look to it - about 20 minutes. If you run out of broth, add hot water. Turn off the heat when the rice is done.
Stir in the butter, grated cheese and reserved sausage, shrimp and clams. Adjust salt and add lemon juice if needed. Top with a little chopped parsley before serving.
This is great served with some crusty bread and a salad.