I asked The Kid what he would like for dinner tonight and he decided he would like some risotto. He didn't care what I put in it as long as it was risotto. Now, I could probably make cat poop and toe nail risotto and he would be happy but that would just be mean. I am trying to make amends for sending him to school with a bad sandwich this week. I tried something new and a bit daring and he didn't care for it one bit. In fact, his friend forgot his lunch and usually eats just about anything. The Kid gave the sandwich to that boy and even he wouldn't eat it. Think about that. He would rather go hungry than eat that sandwich that I sent with my own son. Of course, boy #3 who truly will eat anything put in front of him ate it but he didn't enjoy it. The mom guilt, it burns.
Instead, I decided to make him a clam risotto because clams are much tastier than cat poop and toe nail clippings and I do want him to continue to like me.
Do you really need any more explanation than that?
*to store your fresh, live clams bring them home asap, get them OUT of any plastic they may have come home in, give them a quick rinse and put them in a bowl (no water in the bowl, just clams). Cover them with a damp cloth or damp paper towel and put them at the back of the fridge until dinner time. Don't store them in plastic bags, in water or on ice unless you want to open the fridge at supper time to find that most of them have gone to meet their maker.
adapted from Christine Cushing
I just want to reiterate that all measurements for risotto are approximate. Once you make it a few times, you will start to learn what you like. I like the wine flavour to be really strong so, in truth, I use closer to 3/4 cup but that is a bit much for lots of people. I also used more peas but I probably shouldn't have so I am recommending 1/2 cup. This is not baking. It's not science so relax and just let the risotto happen. It will be good because it's impossible for risotto to not be good so take heart.
1 tbls olive oil
2 tbls butter
approx 2 pounds of littlneck clams, washed
1 shallot, mined
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup white wine (i use pinot grigio)
splash white balsamic (approx 1 tbls)
pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a deep saute pan and melt the butter and olive oil together in the pan. Sauté the shallots and garlic until they get transparent before you add the clams and the wine. Cover the pan and let the clam simmer until they open (it takes only a few minutes, five tops). Season with the white balsamic, salt and black pepper. Remove the clams to a bowl and strain the clam juice leftover through cheesecloth, paper towel or a coffee filter and put that in another bowl and set aside. Make sure to drain the juice that accumlates at the bottom of the bowl of clams after they sit for a bit too.
approx 5 cups of stock (you can use chicken, I used Kitchen Basics Seafood stock)
glug extra virgin olive oil
2 or 3 tbls butter
2 shallots, diced finely
2 scallions, chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (i use a heaping cup and a half)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup frozen sweet peas, rinsed under running water in a strainer and set aside
small handful of italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
salt and pepper to taste
Put the stock in a pot and let it come to a light simmer and then turn it down just to keep it hot but not evaporating away.
In a deep sauté pan, add a glug of olive oil and the butter and saute the shallot and scallion for a few minutes until soft and just starting to colour. Add the rice and stir that around for a couple of minutes until the rice becomes opaque. Pour in the white wine and continue to stir until the wine is almost totally absorbed into the rice. At this point, you start adding the hot stock, a ladle full at a time, stirring pretty much constantly the whole time. I like to do a lazy figure eight pattern myself.
When each addition stock you add is almost totally absorbed, add another ladle full. Keep this up, stirring the whole time, for about 20 minutes. After about 15 or 16 minutes of cooking, throw in the frozen peas and the reserved clam juice, some parsley.
You will use all the stock. If, for any reason, you run out of stock and the rice seems to still be undercooked, add some more white wine or stock but this amount for this much of rice is pretty spot on.
Remove the pot/pan from the heat and the cheese, stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the cheese is incorporated into the risotto. Serve with the resesrved, cooked clams on top of each bowl.