Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I was hunkered down in front of Anthony Bourdain on Monday night. Although I was exhausted and it was past my bedtime, I just couldn't turn it off. He was meandering around Venice, sampling some of the tastiest tidbits from one of the most seductive places on earth. And then he visited Barono, where he had the most dreamy, magical seafood risotto. It has haunted my dreams and my thoughts ever since. So I just had to make my own (most likely inferior) version of this Venetian classic. It tastes of sea spray and sweet cream, caressed with a hint of garlic and lemon. Although it may not be the real thing, I highly recommend the experience.
1 quart really spectacular seafood or fish stock
1 1/2 bottles Irish red beer (I like Sam Adams) - This would also be great with white wine, but reduce the lemon juice
1 bottle clam juice
1 1/2 cups leeks, white parts only, sliced thin
3 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2 lbs. blue mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
In a large saucepan, combine all broth ingredients and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, melt butter in another large saucepan over medium heat and toast rice in melted butter until light golden in color, stirring occasionally.
Add a couple of ladle-fulls of broth at a time, stirring occasionally, and letting the rice absorb each addition before adding more. You'll know when it's been absorbed because you can push the rice back with a spoon and no liquid will fill the place it had been. Continue until rice is almost cooked, but a little al dente. After that last addition, leaving just a bit of broth in the first saucepan, add mussels to the pan and cover. Continue stirring and cooking the risotto while the mussels steam.
Remove the steamed mussels from their shells. Add them to the finished risotto, along with the cream. Stir well, then mix in lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately, risotto gets gummy when it sits.
Serves 4 as a substantial entree. Each serving is approximately 500 calories.