I have really fond memories of Risotto alla Pescatora. It was my go-to dish to order in restaurants on summer holidays when I was little.
The name “Alla pescatora” literally means “fisherman’s style“. Seafood is really popular in Italy and we have to differentiate all the seafood dishes we have with cute names. For example seafood spaghetti are “allo scoglio” (sea rock’s style). Both have the same seafood condiment although spaghetti can be either with or without tomato sauce while the risotto is usually with tomato sauce.
This seafood risotto is not the easiest dish to cook. Especially in a restaurant where risotto can overcook very easily if you lose attention for a minute. Or the fish may be not be cleaned very well and the clams may have sand inside or the sauce may be too bland. So many things can go wrong and today I’m more afraid of getting a bad risotto in a restaurant. So, I don’t take the risk unless I know it’s a very good restaurant.
Which ingredients you need to make this Risotto
As most of Italian recipes, the ingredients are very basic: fresh seafood, garlic, tomato sauce, white wine and parsley.
In Italy you can easily find in most supermarkets frozen seafood mix which is great to cook this dish when fresh seafood is not available. Or in bigger supermarkets with a fish stall, they can make you the seafood mix. So you don’t have to buy all the separate ingredients (which can be very expensive).
In the Netherlands there is nothing of that sort.
You can buy frozen seafood mix but it’s mostly surimi which is not even seafood, and pre-cooked shrimps which are chewy. Also, fresh fish is available only once a week at the city market. And even there often they don’t have mussels or clams. What a bummer.
So I had to improvise. When in season, I bought 1 kilo of mussels and with the ones I didn’t use for the risotto I made “impepata di cozze” (mussels with black pepper). Another one of my big favourites. I then bought fresh shrimps and squids and I was able to find only frozen clams.
The result is not italian-restaurant quality since the fish here is not as flavourful as in Italy. But it was still very delicious and a good walk down flavor memory lane.
If you like this recipe, check also these other Risottos:
“Risotto alla Pescatora” – Seafood Risotto
- 7 oz whole Mussels
- 7 oz Shrimps
- 7 oz Squids
- 1 cup Carnaroli Rice
- 2 Garlic cloves
- 2 Shallots
- 1/4 cup White Wine
- 2 cups Fish Stock, or Vegetable Stock
- 1 tbsp Tomato paste
- Chili Pepper flakes
- Black Pepper
- In a large pot drizzle some olive oil and add the 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved. Add all the cleaned mussels and clams, making sure to throw away the cracked ones as they may have sand inside.
- Turn on the heat to medium and cover the pot with the lid to steam the mussels and clams. Stir a couple of times and once they are all open, turn off the heat and set aside.
- In another large pan, drizzle some more olive oil, add the 2 finely chopped shallots, the tomato paste and the rinsed rice. Turn on the heat to medium and toast the rice for a couple of minutes, until traslucent (be careful not to burn the shallot).
- Pour the white wine and let it evaporate completely, then add the fish stock a couple of ladles at a time until completely absorbed. Cook for about 20 minutes, adding more liquid when necessary.
- Halfway through the cooking time of the rice, add the mussels' water instead of the stock (if it's becoming too salty, add plain water). Add the cleaned and deveined shrimps and the cleaned squids, cut in rings.
- When the rice is done, turn off the heat and add the mussels, clams, the finely chopped parsley and the chili pepper flakes before serving.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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