Food For Four

The Cookbook Challenge Week 19: Tomato Risotto with Mussels

Posted on | March 29, 2010 | Cookbook Challenge, Recipes, Western | 7 Comments

Tomato risotto with mussels

Theme: Rice

No matter how many times I’ve made a risotto, I have not been satisfied with how it turned out. My risotto always end up tasting stodgy. I use hot stock and constantly stirring and adding more stock once all the stock has been absorbed. But instead of a creamy risotto, I get really thick stodgy rice.

The theme for Cookbook Challenge is “rice” and I decided give a risotto another attempt. Practice makes perfect, right? During our last holiday we had a really nice seafood risotto and I wanted to recreate that dish. Unfortunately I started preparing dinner quite late and didn’t have time to prepare the seafood, so I decided to do a mussel risotto instead.

I don’t know how long you’re suppose to cook a risotto, but after 1 hour and 15 minutes of stirring and adding hot stock, the rice was still not completely soft. I had to abandon the cooking as I ran out of stock and also had to attend to the kids. I don’t think rice was suppose to take that long to cook. I can’t believe how much stock it soaked up. I use a lot more stock than the recipe and it’s still not enough.

I like leek and tomato base dishes so naturally I like the flavours of this dish. I must remember to use reduced salt stock because I find it was too salty even without adding any salt.

Making a good risotto really takes time and practice. My risotto was not perfect this time but I know if I persist I will get it right one day.

Tomatto risotto with mussels
From Off The Shelf by Donna Hay
Makes 4


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon thyme leaves
3.5 – 4 cups fish or vegetable stock (I used 6 cups)
1.5 cups tomato puree
2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
3/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter
1kg mussels, scrubbed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
cracked pepper and sea salt


Heat a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil, leeks and thyme and cook for 4 minutes or until the leeks are golden.

Plac the stock and tomato puree in a saucepan and bring to a slow simmer.

Add rice to the leek mixture and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the hot stock to the rice, 1 cup at a time, stirring until each cup of stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente.

While the rice is cooking, lace the wine and butter in a frying pan over high heat. Add the mussels, cover and cook for 2 minutes or until the mussels have opened.

To serve, stir parmesan, pepper and salt through the risotto and spoon onto serving plates. Top with the mussels and their pan juices.

Risotto with mussels

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7 Responses to “The Cookbook Challenge Week 19: Tomato Risotto with Mussels”

  1. MaryMoh
    March 30th, 2010 @ 8:24 am

    Looks creamy and delicious. I love mussels so it’s nice that you add them.

  2. Amy
    March 31st, 2010 @ 3:03 am

    I love risotto. I’ll probably make it often for my blog. My risottos use to be like thick stoggy rice too, until I watched Masterchef and George said not to stir the rice but to instead agitate it every now and then. Since then it’s improved in texture.

    I love mussels too!

  3. April @ My Food Trail
    March 31st, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

    I’m with Amy – apparently you are not supposed to stir the rice. I never make risotto so cannot offer you any tips – I prefer to make the Chinese congee which only involves stirring every once in a while!

  4. Conor @ HoldtheBeef
    April 1st, 2010 @ 1:01 am

    An hour and 15 minutes of stirring? I’m not surprised you had to leave it to do other things! Still, looks worth the effort – I love a good feed of mussels.

  5. sarah
    April 1st, 2010 @ 10:13 am

    this looks really good! I am also with Amy – I recently stopped stirring the risotto and it turned out really creamy.

  6. Yen
    April 2nd, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

    Thank you for the advice everyone. Next time I will try stirring less and see if the risotto is a better texture.

  7. Leigh
    April 4th, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

    Wow..that is a long time. Agree with the others about not stirring all the time, also do you let the stock absorb completely before adding more? Just a thought. Looks delicious and definitely worth the effort though.

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