Risotto alla pescatora



If you are looking for a fish first course that inebriates your senses and brings to the table the true taste of the sea, today's recipe is just right for you: risotto alla pescatora. It is a classic first course of Italian cuisine, which restaurants and families will cook depending on the catch of the day or their preferences. Chef Giancarlo Morelli has gone to the most beautiful Italian coasts and in his fishing net of flavors has caught shrimp, squid, clams and tender mullets. With its sophisticated base of Carnaroli rice, fish broth flavored with fennel to enhance aromas and the fresh coulis of cherry tomatoes, this seafood risotto will be a success. A round of parsley oil and voilà: risotto alla pescatora is ready to enter the scene and get a round of applause!


Carnaroli rice 2 cups (350 g)
Shallot 1
White wine to taste
Goatfish 7 oz (200 g) - (pre-gutted)
Clams 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
Calamari (squid) 18 oz (500 g) - (already cleaned, just the tail)
Shrimps 9 oz (250 g)
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Garlic 1 clove
For the broth
Water 8 ½ cups (2 l) - ice cold
Shallot ⅓ cup (60 g)
Fennel 7 oz (200 g)
Black peppercorn 3 - whole
Basil 2 leaves
Garlic 2 cloves
For creaming
Extra virgin olive oil ½ cup (100 g)
Fresh chili pepper 1 tsp (5 g)
Basil 5 leaves
White pepper 1 pinch
For the cherry tomato coulis
Datterino tomatoes 9 oz (250 g)
Sugar 1 pinch
Fine salt 1 pinch
Water 3 ½ tbsp (50 g)
Garlic 1 clove
For parsley oil (optional)
Parsley 2 oz (50 g) - (leaves only)
Extra virgin olive oil ½ cup (100 g) - delicate

How to prepare Risotto alla pescatora

To prepare risotto alla pescatora, you must first clean the clams. First of all, make sure that all are well closed and discard any open ones. Beat them on a cutting board 1 and place them in a bowl with water and salt for a couple of hours 2. Then drain them and cook them. Pour a drizzle of oil into a pan and let it warm, then add a crushed garlic clove and as soon as the oil is hot pour in the clams 3

Raise the heat, wait a few seconds then sweat with the white wine 4. Cover with a lid 5 and cook for a few minutes until they all open. Now, using a strainer, filter the cooking water in a bowl 6

Discard the closed clams, shell the others and set them aside 7. Now move on to the calamari (squid). Cut the tail in half 8, flatten it, lay it on a cutting board and cut it into very thin strips 9

Set aside and proceed with the mullets. Cut the head and the final part of the tail 10, then fillet the fish to obtain 2 standard fillets 11. Save the scraps because they will be used to make the broth. Now clean the shrimp. Detach the head, shell and tail with your hands 12 and set them aside, as they will also be used to flavor the broth. 

Then with a small knife cut the back of each shrimp 13 and remove the black vein. Next, make the broth. Finely chop the shallot 14 and cut the fennel into thin strips 15.

Pour a little oil into a large pot. Add 2 cloves of garlic, shallot, shrimp shells and mullet bones 16. Let it brown 17, then add water with ice 18,

fennel 19, peppercorns 20 and basil leaves 21

Also add the previously filtered clam water 22. Bring to a boil, then lower the temperature and cook for 15-18 minutes over low heat.Meanwhile, make the tomato coulis. Pour the tomatoes, sugar 23, salt, unpeeled garlic clove 24

and the water 25 in a pan. Wait until it starts boiling, then cook for 5-6 minutes. Now remove the garlic 26, turn off the heat and transfer everything to a mixer. Blend all ingredients and transfer to a bowl 27. Now the broth will be ready too, so filter it and keep it warm. Proceed to cook the rice. 

Pour a drizzle of oil into a pan, add the chopped shallot 28 and let it toast slightly. When it starts to sweat, add the Carnaroli rice 29 and let it toast while stirring occasionally 30.                                        

To know when the rice is well toasted, touch it with the back of your hand, without scalding yourself, and if it is hot add the white wine 31, about 1/4 cup (40 g). As soon as it has evaporated, wet the rice with a couple of ladles of broth 32 33.

As soon as it starts to boil, it will take about 13 minutes to cook, you will have to add more broth only when needed.After about ten minutes, the rice will be almost cooked, add the clams 34 and stir. Then add the squid 35, stir again, add the shrimps and stir again 36

Wait 13 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir. Add the oil, the thinly sliced chili pepper, a little white pepper and some basil leaves 37, breaking them up with your hands. Add the tomato coulis 38, shake the pan at the same time to mix 39.

Cover with a lid 40, let it rest for a minute and in the meantime quickly sear the mullets. Pour a drizzle of oil into a pan, let it warm, then add the mullet fillets 41. After a few seconds turn them over and finish cooking on the other side 42

Then transfer them to a tray with absorbent paper to dry them 43. Back to the rice now, taste it. Adjust the salt, white pepper and, if necessary, add a little more oil 44. Stir it one last time before serving. Pour a ladleful of rice in the middle of a plate 45.

Tap with the palm of your hand under the bottom of the plate to distribute the rice evenly. Place three mullet fillets on top of each portion 46 and finish off with a sprinkle of parsley oil 47. Serve risotto alla pescatora still hot 48

How to prepare parsley oil

Wash the parsley leaves and dip them in a pan with boiling water 1. Cook them for a few minutes, then drain and squeeze them 2. Place the parsley in a mixer and add the oil 3

Blend everything until you get a smooth cream 4. Then filter the mixture in order to obtain your parsley oil 5. Pour it into a squeeze bottle 6, this way it will be easier to use it! 


We recommend eating the risotto alla pescatora as soon as it is ready. Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one day. 


Tips for a perfect seafood risotto

1. To toast the rice, use a fat, preferably well heated oil. The method called "dry" (i.e. hot pan + rice without added fat) is not recommended because the rice needs a veil of grease to toast better and prevent overcooking.

2. If you can't find Carnaroli rice, you can choose Vialone nano.

3. The ice water added to make the broth allows a thermal shock and thus extracts all the juices from the shells and fish scraps.

4. The quick cooking of the broth will keep all the scents intact, with a less cloudy final result.

5. The ladles of broth must be added with good judgment: the rice must always be clearly visible and never completely covered.

6. If your mullets are very large, cut the fillets into standard pieces. If you don't like mullets, you can use small hake or white sea bream. 

7. For this preparation you just need the tail of the squid. In case you bought it whole, you can fry the tentacles to serve them as a tasty appetizer.