Seafood Risotto
From Lynn Fredericks, author: Cooking Time is Family Time
Adapted by

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 surprised!


  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, unshelled
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 lb. shiitakes
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup white wine or water or more chicken stock
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb. scallops, cleaned, or clams in the shell
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (brick or pre-grated)
  • Kosher salt

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.

2. Have 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 set aside.

4. When 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.

5. Next 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.

6. While 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.

9. When 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.


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