Yield: 4 servings
The key to risotto
is patience and attentiveness - great skills for children
to learn! Once you begin adding the broth, it must be stirred
continuously. Some children love to stick with it, others
get bored quickly. Regardless, you must be committed to about
fifteen minutes of stirring and staying at the stove with
or without them. Risotto can have infinite variations. Later,
when you and your children have perfected risotto making,
two children can perform the ladle and stirring operation
quite nicely with adult supervision. Be sure to ask the kids
what they would like to add to vary the recipe - you'd be
- 8 cups
- 1 lb.
medium shrimp, unshelled
- 2 medium
- 4 Tablespoons
- 3 Tablespoons
- 1/3 lb.
- 2 cups
- 1/3 cup
white wine or water or more chicken stock
- 1 red
- 3 plum
- 1/2 lb.
scallops, cleaned, or clams in the shell
- 1/4 cup
Parmesan cheese (brick or pre-grated)
1. In a large
saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Reduce the heat
to a simmer and continue simmering until ready to use.
the children help peel the shrimp and set aside. Meanwhile,
older children can help dice the onions. Place half the butter
and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
When oil and butter are hot, add one half the chopped onion.
Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for ten
minutes or until translucent.
3. Now you
can assist younger children in wiping the shiitakes with a
damp towel. Remove the stems and discard. Have older children
help you slice the mushroom caps into four strips each and
the onions are translucent, add the rice. Let children stir
the rice and continue stirring until each grain of rice is
coated by the butter and glistens. Small children can do this
well (wearing an oven mitt for protection) once they practice
and learn a controlled stirring motion. 'Slow and steady'
is what I repeat as they work to get the hang of it.
add the white wine or substitute liquid and continue stirring
until it is completely absorbed. You are now well into the
constant stirring process necessary for good risotto. With
a long-handled ladle and their little hands protected by the
oven mitt, have the children dip up a ladle of broth and pour
it into the rice. Stir continuously until the stock is absorbed.
Repeat this step until the rice is cooked through but not
mushy. There will be a creamy consistency, slightly soupy
but not watery. You may not need to use all the stock. This
will take about 15 to 20 minutes.
one or more persons are stirring, you or an older child can
dice the red pepper and the tomatoes and place them in a bowl.
7. In a
medium skillet, melt the remaining butter and oil over medium
heat. Add remaining chopped onion, reduce heat and cook, stirring
occasionally until translucent. When the onions are cooked,
add diced pepper, tomatoes and sliced shiitakes to the skillet
and stir to incorporate.
8. Now have
the children add the shrimp and scallops or clams in the shell
to the skillet and cook about five minutes until just cooked
through (seafood should be opaque and no longer very soft).
Remove skillet from heat. While the seafood is cooking, grate
the piece of Parmesan cheese into a small bowl if you are
using brick cheese and set aside.
the risotto is at the correct consistency, stir in the seafood
and vegetables to the pot of risotto. Stir in the grated Parmesan
cheese just before serving or place on the table for individual
servings. Adjust seasoning to taste with kosher salt. Serve
right away in shallow bowls or on plates.