It’s here, it’s here! Weeks of preparation and Christmas is finally here…and I’m still not ready! Anyway, today is Christmas Eve and for most of my life that meant getting last minute gifts wrapped, prepping as much as possible for Christmas Day dinner, and taking a long nap in the evening in order to stay wide awake for Midnight Mass. In researching Filipino Christmas traditions (you may recall my Christmas Tradition Makeover post last week) , I actually stumbled upon a pretty cool Italian Christmas Eve tradition: The Feast of the Seven Fishes… Must have been the Christmas and Seafood search combo. Whatever the chances, this was the perfect opportunity to give my Mustard Seed inspired Seafood Risotto (Remember #2?) another go.
Though there are many background stories as to the origins of this tradition and why “seven fishes”…some say it represents the seven sacraments, some the seven days of creation, others the seven hills of Rome…whatever the story may be, it all boils down to a large, seven or more course seafood feast on Christmas Eve. How awesome is that? I don’t know about you, but I love, love, love, love, love seafood! And seven happens to be my favorite number, too!
So in honor of this Italian Christmas tradition, I give you my Seafood Risotto, inspired by the delicious Shrimp and Scallop Risotto of the Mustard Seed in Summerville, SC.
Merry Christmas everyone!
The directions below are approximate since I was absolutely STARVING when I made this and didn’t have time to write as I went. I almost didn’t take any pictures! So, if anything below gets confusing, just leave a comment and I’ll try to better explain you through it.
A SEAFOOD RISOTTO FOR THE FEAST OF SEVEN FISHES
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 pound seafood (I used sea scallops and shrimp)
- 1 32 ounce box seafood stock
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used sparkling wine this time)
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided in thirds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Shredded Parmesan cheese to garnish
- Optional: Seafood flavor concentrate
- Optional: Fresh basil
- Pour seafood broth into a medium saucepan and heat over medium until simmering. If using the seafood flavor concentrate, add to the pot and stir to dissolve. Allow broth to maintain a low simmer while completing steps 2-6.
- Season seafood with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.
- Cook each type of seafood separately to ensure even cooking. I started first with scallops since they take longer. Add more olive oil in between batches if needed. Set cooked seafood aside when done.
- Pour wine into pot and scrape up any brown bits (deglaze) left from the seafood. Allow wine to simmer and reduce in half. Carefully add the reduced wine to the seafood broth.
- Add remaining olive oil to pot (2 tablespoons). Once heated, pour in the Arborio rice and toss for about a minute to give it a very light toasting.
- Using a ladle or heat safe/resistant measuring cup, carefully pour 1 cup of the hot seafood broth to the arborio rice. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until almost all of the broth has been absorbed by the rice.
- Continue adding the seafood broth 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed in between each addition. As you get to the final cup of broth, add in small batches until the rice can no longer absorb any more liquid, and rice is “al dente” and creamy.
- Taste, and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Add diced tomatoes along with the basil if using. Top with the cooked seafood and toss everything together in the pot
- Cover pot and reduce heat to medium low. Let the tomatoes and seafood re-heat, about 5 minutes.
- When heated through, serve garnished with shredded Parmesan and basil.