Risotto alla Pescatora Recipe

Risotto alla Pescatora Recipe
Risotto alla Pescatora, or Fisherman Style Risotto, with mussels, clams, calamari and shrimps, is a recipe traditionally prepared and served as first course during the Christmas Eve dinner. The freshness of the ingredients is especially important for this risotto recipe.

Ingredients and Instructions (serves 6):

  • 1 pound/500 grams of Arborio or Carnaroli rice

  • 1/2 pound/250 grams of mussels, with the shell

  • 1/2 pound/250 grams of clams, with the shell

  • 1/2 pound/250 grams of shrimps, unpeeled

  • 1/2 pound/250 grams of calamari

  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1/2 onion

  • 1 medium celery stick

  • a dash of peperoncino (chili pepper flakes)

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley

  • 3/4 cup of olive oil

  • Salt and pepper


  1. Wash mussels, clams, calamari and shrimps. Since each seafood item will be prepared separately, cook according to the instructions, while leaving the rest in the refrigerator.

  2. Place the mussels and the clams with their shells in a pan with 2 cups of water; cover and let cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until they open up. When the 5 minutes have passed, remove from heat and discard any unopened clam or mussels. Transfer the rest to a dish; remove 2/3 of the shells from mussels and clams and leave the rest for garnishing each plate at the end. Filter and reserve the cooking water in a small bowl.

  3. Clean the shrimps removing their heads, tails and peels, but don’t discard any of them. Place clean shrimps back in the refrigerator.

  4. Clean and slice the calamari in small pieces. Return to the fridge.

  5. Make a stock for the risotto by simmering in a pot with 4 cups of slightly salted water the half onion, the celery and all the shrimp’s peels and heads for about 20 minutes. Strain the stock, add the mussels and clams water to it and keep warm.

  6. Finely chop the garlic and the parsley; add with the peperoncino flake to a large pan with 8 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add calamari and shrimps to the pan, stir and sauté for a few more minutes, until shrimps start turning slightly golden; add the wine, stir again and let evaporate for about one minute.

  7. Meanwhile, heat up the stock. Add the rice to the shrimps and calamari, stir and continue doing so until it has absorbed all the liquid from the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 cup of stock (hot) and stir gently until completely absorbed by the rice. Repeat the same procedure with more stock, 1/2 a cup at the time, and cook the rice for another 15 minutes.

  8. Add the mussels and clams without shell to the risotto, and keep stirring in the stock until the rice is cooked al dente; it should have a creamy consistency with the grains still slightly firm. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately, garnishing each plate with the mussels and clams still in their shells.

Wine pairing note: serve with a good Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay, chilled.

Buon appetito!

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