Risotto with Mussels
Arborio and other risotto rices have medium to long grains and a hard core, which is what produces the characteristic texture of risottos - the grains creamy on the outside while still slightly al dente in the middle.
|For the risotto:|
|100ml (3½ fl oz)||dry white wine|
|1.25l (2¼ pints)||water|
|40g (1½oz)||unsalted butter|
|80g (3¼oz)||onion, finely chopped|
|450g (1lb)||arborio or other risotto rice|
|For the mussels:|
|1 tsp||unsalted butter|
|50g (2oz)||onion, finely chopped|
|2||garlic cloves, roughly chopped|
|100ml (3½fl oz)||dry white wine|
|4||fresh thyme sprigs|
|1||fresh or dried bay leaf|
You will need a large cast-iron pan.
Place the mussels in a sink of cold water and pick over, discarding any that do not close when tapped with the blade of a knife. If they continue to gape, discard; they are dead. Scrape off any barnacles, using the blade of a small sharp knife, and pull away the black threads or beards. Wash thoroughly, then drain.
In a large cast-iron pan, melt the butter over a low heat and sweat the 50g (2oz) chopped onion and garlic for a few minutes until soft but not brown. Add the wine, thyme and bay leaf, bring to the boil and boil for 10 seconds over a high heat. Add the mussels, cover and cook, shaking the pan, for 1 minute until the mussels are just opened. Discard any that remain closed.
Drain the juices from the mussels into a small pan through a fine sieve or cloth. Pick the mussels out of their shells and keep them in their cooking juices. Bring the wine for the rice to the boil for 5 seconds, and set aside. In a separate pan, bring the water to a simmer.
In a large frying pan, melt the butter and sweat the onion for the risotto for 1 minute, then add the rice and stir. Add the wine and a ladleful of hot water. On a medium heat, bring the rice to near simmering point and cook until the rice has absorbed most of the water. Add another ladle of water, stirring delicately. The rice will gradually cook as the water is added. Keep the temperature low, as on no account must the risotto boil. This process will take about 30 minutes.
Mix the mussels and their juices into the risotto. Stir and cook on a medium heat for a further minute, season with sea salt and black pepper and serve.