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
Ingredients
  • 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
Directions
  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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I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom. I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??! While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines. Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!) I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me. I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.