Saffron and Seafood Risotto

The countdown is on.  We are in full holiday swing... and the waistline shows it.  January is going to bring some harsh reality.  Wait, what am I saying?  Nothing ever changes in January.. really...  When complaining about my current state of the union, my mom explained to me that I am now middle aged and this is what happens when you're middle aged.  Dear sweet.  Luckily, I can always count on mom to try and make me feel better by blaming my situation on something out of my control.   At some point, I'm going to have to jump the track and get on a new one.  Give me strength!  In the meantime, what's wrong with a little rice and seafood?  Just ignore the small amount of cheese involved.

4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sprinkle of salt

1 Large shallot, finely minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cups carnaroli rice
1/2 cup white wine
3-4 cups chicken stock, heated
Pinch of saffron
12 Large peeled and deveined wild shrimp
4 Large sea scallops, dried on paper towels
8 Clams, rinsed
8 Mussels, rinsed
2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
1/4 Cup freshly grate Parmigiano  Reggiano

Make a sauce with the Roma tomatoes.  Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium low heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add in the tomatoes and turn heat up a bit until tomatoes begin to simmer.  Cover with a lid, turn heat down to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.

To make the risotto, heat olive oil in a large rimmed pan over medium heat.  Add shallot and sauté until it is softened and translucent.  Add in the rice and stir to incorporate.  Let cook for 30 seconds to one minute until rice begins to kind of whistle.  Deglaze pan with the wine, let simmer until wine is almost fully evaporated.  Add in the tomato sauce and the saffron, stir to combine and simmer until almost all liquid is evaporated.  Turn heat down to medium low, then start the chicken stock addition, one cup or less at a time, just enough to cover the rice.  Stir once, let simmer until almost all liquid is evaporated and repeat until rice is al dente, soft on the outside, but still a little firm on the inside.  
Add in the clams and the mussels and one last chicken stock addition and freshly grated pepper.  Stir to combine.  Turn heat up to medium, cover and cook until the clams and mussels open.
Meanwhile, salt and pepper the shrimp and scallops.  In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat a little grape seed oil over high heat.  Once the oil is nearly smoking, place the scallops and shrimp in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan so that they will sear versus sauté.  Sear for about 1 minute per side.  Turn heat off.
Once mussels and clams open, remove lid, add in the mascarpone and the parmigiano and stir to incorporate.
To serve, dish out the risotto and place a few shrimp and a scallop on top.  It was delicious!  A little like a paella actually.  Loved it!


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