Doesn’t that look incredibly good? This is the Shrimp and Tilapia Risotto we had with last night’s Soy-Glazed Flank Steak. An odd combination, I know, but it was already late afternoon when we realized we hadn’t decided on dinner. The flank steak was my choice, the risotto was Ward’s.

Simply because Ward loves making risotto. The problem, though, is that while I do like risotto, all that cheesiness is usually too rich for me. Our solution? Seafood risottos! No cheese. Still quite rich, but not too rich.

This one was incredibly creamy and very good.

You don’t really have to stir risotto as much as legend would have it, although there is stirring involved. Here it is, simmering on the stovetop:


Ward adds liquid, pops over to another spot in the kitchen to do some other quick bit prep work, comes back, stirs for about a minute until all the liquid is absorbed, adds another measure of liquid, goes does something else (a quick something else), comes back, stirs until the liquid is all absorbed … So while you do have to stir for a bit, you don’t have to stand there at the stove continuously.

The result? Very creamy risotto, with a lovely rich taste that’s not too rich, because no cheese has been added.


The seafood is perfectly done. Here you can see some chunks of tilapia and the shrimp:


Adapted from The Best Italian Classics, by Cooks Illustrated

Shrimp and Tilapia Risotto


For the broth

1 medium onion, unpeeled, quartered

1 medium carrot, cut in 2-inch lengths

10 black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp salt

shells from 1 pound shrimp (from below)

1 cup bottled clam juice

1 cup vegetable stock

1 can (14 1/2 oz or 400 mL) diced tomatoes

For the risotto:

5 tbsp unsalted butter

1 medium onion, diced fine

3-4 cloves garlic, minced


2 cups Arborio rice

small pinch saffron threads

1 cup dry white wine

1 pound shrimp (about 31 to 40 per pound), shells (including tails) removed and reserved

2-3 small tilapia filets, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves

ground black pepper


1. The broth: Combine all ingredients with 5-1/2 cups of water in a large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain broth through a fine-mesh strainer into another saucepan, discard the solids and put broth on low heat to keep warm.

2. The risotto: Melt 4 tbsp butter in large saucepan over medium-heat. When butter stops foaming, add the onion, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and translucent, about 9-10 minutes.

3. Add rice. Crumble saffron threads into pot, using your fingers. Cook, stirring frequently, until the edges of the rice are transparent, about 4 minutes.

4. Add the wine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the wine is absorbed by the rice, about 2 minutes.

5. Add 3 cups of the broth and simmer, stirring every three minutes. Continue simmering and stirring until liquid is absorbed and the bottom of pan is dry, about 10 to 12 minutes.

6. Continue adding more broth, approximately 1/2 cup at a time, as needed to keep pan bottom from drying out. You’ll be adding a half-cup every 3 to 4 minutes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is cooked through, but grains are still a little firm in the center, about 10 to 12 minutes.

7. Stir in the remaining 1 tbsp butter vigorously, until melted. Gently fold in the shrimp, tilapia and basil. Cover pot and remove from heat. Let stand until seafood is cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Season to taste, and serve immediately.

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