Risotto ai Frutti di Mare (Seafood Risotto)

To my surprise I had not yet blogged my recipe for risotto ai frutti di mare. That needed to be rectified as soon as possible, and it is certainly no punishment to have to eat this. There are two important factors for making a great seafood risotto:

  1. Make sure to mix the juices and drippings released from cooking the seafood with the stock used fo cooking the risotto, as there is heaps of flavor in there
  2. Select at least one of each type of seafood from the three main groups: shellfish (clams, vongole, mussels, etc.), crustaceans (shrimp, prawns, scampi), and mollusks (squid, octopus, cuttlefish, calamari).


For 2 to 3 servings

200 grams (1 cup) risotto rice such as carnaroli or arborio

225 grams (.5 lb) vongole or other shellfish (gross weight)

150 grams (.33 lb) squid or other mollusks (clean weight), chopped

300 grams (.66 lb) large shrimp with heads and shells (gross weight)

750 ml (3 cups) fish stock

120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine

1 small onion, minced

1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley

1 Tbsp butter

4 Tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Start by preparing the seafood. Peel the shrimp, reserving the heads and shells to make the stock.

I used pink shrimp, that are already pink when they are still raw.

Sauté the heads and shells briefly in a tablespoon of olive oil. If using regular grey shrimp, sauté them until they turn pink.

Cover with water, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, devein the shrimp and pat them dry with paper towels.

Cook the shrimp in a tablespoon of olive oil over high heat, about 30 seconds per side.

Lift the shrimp out of the pan with a strainer so all the drippings remain in the pan, and set aside on a plate. Do not clean the pan.

Pat the squid dry with paper towels.

Add a bit of oil to the pan if needed, and briefly sauté the squid until it starts to release liquid.

Turn off the heat and lift the squid out of the pan with a strainer, again leaving behind the drippings and not cleaning the pan. Set the squid aside on a plate. Season the squid and shrimp with salt.

Now put the vongole in the same pan, and add half of the white wine (60 ml or 1/4 cup).

Cover the pan and cook over high heat until the clams have opened. As soon as that happens, turn off the heat.

Transfer the clams to the plate with the squid and shrimp, again using a strainer to leave behind all the juices and drippings in the pan.

Mix those juices and drippings with about half a litre (2 cups) of fish stock. Heat this to almost boiling, and then keep it simmering.

By now the shrimp stock should be done, too.

Strain the shrimp stock into the pot with the fish stock and other seafood juices. Squeeze out the heads to get all of the flavor that is in there.

To make the risotto, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide thick bottomed pan. Add the onion and stir until it is translucent.

Add the rice and stir over medium heat until the rice is very hot and coated with the oil.

Add the remaining 60 ml (1/4 cup) of dry white wine and stir over medium heat until it has been absorbed.

Now add a ladle of the stock.

Stir over medium heat until it has been absorbed. Keep adding more stock and keep stirring until the rice is al dente, about 16 to 18 minutes. If you run out of stock, use the remaining fish stock.

When the rice is cooked, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then add another ladle of stock…

…a tablespoon of butter, cut into pieces…

…and the seafood. Stir to mix. Cover and allow to rest for a few minutes over very low heat to allow the seafood to warm back up.

Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with parsley.

Wine pairing

This is great with a flavorful dry Italian white such as Verdicchio, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, or Vermentino.



If you have good tomatoes, then spaghetti with a sauce made from those tomatoes is one of the best bounties of summer. It is so simple and so go good.

11 thoughts on “Risotto ai Frutti di Mare (Seafood Risotto)

  1. Nice: shall not be ‘right over’ 🙂 ! Shall try and prepare !!! As long as the squid, prawns and the ‘vongole’ hit the pan I know I’ll be happy with the results . . . now, how on earth did you know I had verdicchio in my glass . . . ?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Risotto ai Frutti di Mare, the name itself is appetizing. I’ve had many risottos, but none made in this fashion. We have a bottle of Cambrugiano that should pair nicely with this dish. Thanks for the detailed instruction. Very informative as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful recipe, Stefan, the flavours must be exceptional with all of the liquid and pan drippings incorporated into the risotto. I have a ziplock bag in the freezer for seafood that I just keep adding to if I don’t need the stock right away. Then, when there is a good quantity, I make stock. It is a beautiful base for Bouillabaisse but as you kindly pointed out, also for seafood risotto. The butter is a nice addition which adds some richness and creaminess to the dish.
    Years ago, I was working out in Florida in a huge hotel gym and there was a closed circuit show about the risotto in one of the restaurants, the chef actually used about a kilo of butter in his version — I made sure not to order that dish for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stefan,- can you tell me what species of prawns are pink when they are raw ??
    In your images, the flesh is already opaque, and not translucent.
    Are you sure they weren’t cooked prawns ??


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