A Cook's Notes on Dill: Risotto with Seafood and Dill

| August/September 1993

Serves 6 to 8

This dish is very Italian, with clean, definite seafood, herb, and rice flavors and a creamy broth that bathes the rice. Cheese is optional; though seldom served with seafood in Italy, cheese seems to be an American preference in rice and pasta seafood dishes. Feel free to substitute other shellfish or finfish. Italians frequently serve small shellfish in the shell in risotto and with pasta, and the effect is quite attractive. If you cannot find scallops in the shell, use shelled scallops and sauté them with the shrimp.

• 1 pound medium shrimp, 16–24 count
• 2 to 3 pounds assorted bivalves in the shell, such as Manila clams, small mussels, and scallops
• 1 cup dry white wine
• Water
• 1 bunch dill
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 quart fish broth or 16 ounces bottled clam juice
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
• 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 cups arborio rice
• 3 or 4 green onions, trimmed with about
• 4 inches green and cut in 1/2-inch lengths (optional)
• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• Lemon wedges (optional)
• About 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Shell and devein the shrimp, rinsing only if necessary. Reserve the shells to enhance the broth.

Heat the other shellfish, one kind at a time, in the wine in a tightly covered pan. Remove them as they open to a dish.

Strain the shellfish liquor into a pot through a sieve lined with rinsed white paper toweling or tripled cheesecloth. Add the shrimp shells, about 2 cups of water, three or four dill sprigs, the coarsely chopped onion, bay leaf, and fish broth or clam juice. Simmer about 15 minutes, then strain and measure the broth. You should have at least 2 quarts; add wine or water if necessary to equal this amount. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat the broth to just below a simmer and keep warm.

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