Seafood Risotto


Monkfish and Scallop Seafood Risotto

Don’t you hate it when you head to the market and pick up some great ingredients only to arrive home and realize you forgot an essential item?  In our case, we discovered some wonderful monkfish (or headfish) and large diver scallops at our local market and were all set to cook up a wonderful pot of seafood risotto when we realized we were out of aborio or carnaroli rice (for our seafood risotto)!

So, you may be wondering what we decided to do given our lack of a key ingredient?  Our response: continue to make risotto with what we had in our pantry (which included some organic long grain rice).  The end result was surprisingly good though we ended up with a texture and consistency more akin to risi e bisi.  The following Monkfish and Scallop Seafood risotto recipe, however, utilizes proper aborio or carnaroli rice.  Click here for all of our risotto recipes.

Some tips on choosing fish for a seafood risotto: buy whatever fish is fresh and is firm fleshed.  Don’t head to your fish shop or market with a particular fish variety in mind but rather buy what looks, smells, and feels best.  Good fish for seafood risotto include: shrimp, scallop, salmon, cod, tuna, etc. (viz., any firm fleshed fish that can keep it’s structure intact).   For a slightly more elaborate description on how to make risotto see Whitney Chen’s article in Gilt Taste (we suggest you skip adding whipped cream at the end of the process, however)

Fresh fish for the seafood risotto: monkfish and large diver scallops
Monkfish (left) and large diver scallops (right) cut into roughly the same size.

Monkfish and Scallop Seafood Risotto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Primo, Pasta, Entree
Serves: 4
  • ½ pound of large diver, sea, scallops cut in half (depending on size; you're looking to roughly match the size of the monkfish)
  • 1 pound of monkfish cut into roughly 1 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons of saffron
  • 1 cup of arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 2 cups of good red or white wine (optional)
  • 2 cups of fresh, filtered, water (optional)
  • 4 cups of low salt chicken or vegetable stock (if you make your own even better)
  • 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion (red or Spanish varities provide nicer flavor), finely diced/cubed
  • ½ yellow and red bell pepper, finely diced and cubed (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tabs of butter
  1. Place the the olive oil, diced onions and bell peppers, and a half teaspoon of salt in a large heavy pan and set the flame to medium (we use a copper pot).
  2. Cook down the onions and peppers until soft and then add the rice.
  3. Toast the rice until it becomes translucent (the center can have a bit of white color).
  4. For the liquid, either 1., use homemade stock (vegetable or chicken) and add the saffron and bring to a simmer 2., combine wine, water, pepper, salt, and saffron in a pot and bring to a simmer or 3., purchase low sodium stock and add the saffron and bring to a simmer.
  5. Next, begin ladling in the hot stock (enough to cover the rice completely) and stir well. Add a bit more salt (depending on the salt content of your stock) and some freshly ground black pepper. Continue to ladle in more stock to cover the rice and stir frequently, you'll need to do this whenever you notice the liquid has started to diminish and your rice is not covered in stock.
  6. Repeat the aforementioned process for 25-30 minutes tasting the rice frequently.
  7. Risotto should be served slightly al dente. As soon as you sense the rice has released a good amount of starch and is cooked to your liking (you should notice a creamy texture), add the cubed fish and stir well (if you need to add a bit more liquid then do so at this point). The fish will cook in a few minutes and thereafter you can add the finely minced parsley and butter.
  8. Stir well and serve as an all in one meal or as a starter to a multi-course meal.




  1. I quite like the fact that it’s more watery than a risotto. I think that really suits a sefood dishe. Lots of juices to mop up with bread. They have a similar dish in Portugal that they call ‘naughty seafood rice’ lol. Just love this recipe. think I would have more than 3 bowlfuls and am bookmarking it to try soon.

  2. Joseph Chiaravalloti

    Try Kohoku Rose; a sushi rice grown in California (see also Calrose).  It’s much cheaper than the Italian mports and I can’t tell the difference.  Perhaps you can?  It would make a good column.

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