Risotto. There is no better dish than a perfectly made risotto.
I hate when people ask me what my favorite food is, like I actually have one favorite that goes above and beyond everything else. Hello! I am a FOOD BLOGGER – which means I love food. All kinds. I can’t just pick one. That’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. Okay, bad analogy, I’m sure all moms secretly do have a favorite… But you get the idea.
Anyway. Risotto. It’s definitely up there as one of my favorites. And if someone MADE me choose one favorite…like, was going to give me a trillion dollars if I could name my one, true favorite, then yes…I guess I’d be able to do it. And I’d probably choose risotto. Like I’ve said in previous posts, if risotto is on a menu, you can almost bet money that I will order it. The times that I don’t, I leave wishing that I did. I’ve had some really great ones since I moved to Florida – wild mushroom risotto at Tanzy; tomato, basil and parmesan risotto at The Atlantic Grille; grilled shrimp and lemon risotto at Saquella; lobster risotto at Brule; coconut risotto at 50 Ocean; and I even made a butternut squash risotto for Thanksgiving one year.
I guess you can say I know my risotto. There is just something about the creaminess of this traditional Italian pasta dish that gets me every time. And the Parmesan. You cannot forget the Parmesan. I don’t understand risotto that doesn’t include Parmesan in the ingredients. You can pretty much always find me adding more, too. I like that risotto can be made as a simple yet delicious side dish to complement any kind of protein, or it can be made the shining star of a meal. Either way, it’s a winning dish. So when it was my night to cook dinner for my roommates, risotto immediately came to mind. I took a look in the kitchen to see what I had…a bag of frozen seafood medley with shrimp, scallops, mussels, octopus and calamari; lots of itty bitty vine tomatoes, garlic, parmesan, Gourmet Garden basil, fresh baby spinach leaves… The wheels in my head started turning at warp speed and roomie-dinner night was underway.
Spinach and Tomato-Basil Seafood Risotto
3½ cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp canola oil
5 small vine tomatoes, medium diced
1 bag fresh baby spinach
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
2 tbsp fresh basil
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 bag frozen seafood medley, or any seafood of your choice
Bring the vegetable broth to a simmer and keep hot. Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil on medium in a large, heavy saucepan and add spinach and tomatoes. Sauté until the tomatoes are soft and spinach is wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil to the pan and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant.
Add rice and stir for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue to stir. Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, add a ladle of the warm vegetable broth. When the liquid is absorbed, add another ladle. Continue this pattern until the rice is tender and the mixture looks creamy.
As your rice cooks, heat another small saucepan with 1-2 tablespoons oil and add your frozen seafood medley. Cook for about 8 minutes.
When the rice is done, remove from heat and add the spinach and tomatoes. Stir in the basil and parmesan cheese. Add the seafood on top of the rice.