Cast Iron

Paella Risotto: Saffron Tomato Risotto with Chorizo and Seafood

December 19, 2015
Author Notes

This recipe comes from my dual love for creamy risotto and the tomato, wine and saffron notes of paella with chorizo and seafood.(Paella traditionally calls for an entirely different rice than risotto. If you serve this to a Spaniard, call it Risotto; otherwise, they might be horrified!)
The last step- getting the bottom crunchy- is optional, but oh so worth it! (There is also a Persian rice dish famous for the same quality.) —LE BEC FIN

  • Serves 4-6
  • Unsalted butter and/or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Shallot or Onion, finely chopped
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup Dry White wine
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Optional- 1 teaspoon Pimenton dulce (sweet smoked Spanish paprika)***
  • 8 ounces Chorizo- fresh Portuguese, chopped and sauted til cooked through, ( fat reserved for future use )
  • or
  • dry cured Spanish Chorizo ,chopped and sauted in lightly oiled pan til hot
  • 8 ounces fresh or defrosted Minced clams, strained and chopped smaller (reserve juices) orsmall, fresh shucked clams, juices strained and reserved
  • 8 ounces Sea scallops, dried and seared on each side over high heat in oiled pan, then halved or quartered*
  • 1 cup Canned plum tomatoes, roughly chopped and strained (reserve juices)
  • Optional: 4ounces fresh or frozen okra, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1-2 cups Robust chicken stock, unsalted
  • 2 pinches Saffron threads
  • 4 cups Bottled or fresh clam juice(if fresh, sieve it through fine strainer)
  • Kosher Salt (may not need if clam juice is salty)
  • Fresh coarsely ground Black Pepper
  • Fresh lemon juice
In This Recipe
  1. Warm 1 cup chicken stock and add saffron; let sit 15 minutes, covered, to infuse. Add clam juice, bring to low simmer, and cover. (Reserve 2nd cup chicken stock in case needed later.)
  2. Meanwhile over medium high heat, saute onion in a little butter or oil til translucent, then saute garlic. Add rice to coat with oil/butter and toast over medium heat for a few minutes. Add wine and cook down to dry. Add red pepper flakes and pimenton. Mix in chorizo through tomatoes (and optional okra).
  3. Begin adding stock in 1/2 cups, stirring well after each addition, til near dry.(Liquid amounts can vary with many factors; you may need less or more stock.) When you have added 4 cups liquid, taste the rice. If it needs more liquid, continue adding stock until rice is fully cooked and it has a slight al dente but creamy quality. Turn off the heat and transfer rice to an oil-sprayed metal serving pan(cocotte or cast iron or paella pan) that has heated over medium heat.
  4. Optional finishing step: Press rice down in pan and raise the heat under it to medium high for ~ 10 minutes til bottom browns/gets crunchy. (Use a pancake spatula to check, and try not to burn it!) Spritz with fresh lemon juice and serve family- style at table.
  5. * or peeled uncooked shrimp
  6. ** Do not use Mexican chorizo. For an Italian version of this dish, substitute Sweet Italian Fennel Sausage, sliced and sauteed, add some sauteed chopped fennel or sauteed fennel seed, and omit the Pimenton and lemon. Add optional grated Parmesan to taste.
  7. *** store your Pimenton in the frig or freezer to keep out moths

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