The key to cooking a great risotto is using the best quality rice. Chef Alessandro Pavoni recommends an Italian carnaroli rice for the best texture. This is his recipe for crab risotto — a sensational seafood dish for you to serve next time you're entertaining.
- 500 g crabmeat and 250 g of shells (or enough whole crabs for 500 g of meat)
- 10 red capsicums
- 500 g mascarpone
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 onion
- olive oil, for frying
- 1 kg carnaroli rice
- 1 glass dry white wine, at room temperature
- 100 g butter
- 100 g parmesan
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Pick the meat from the cooked crab shells, and using the shells, place in a large pot with 500 ml water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer.
Juice 5 of the capsicums and add the juice to the stock mixture. Drain the shells and set the stock aside.
Cook the remaining half of the capsicum in a pan until soft. Transfer to a food processor to make a puree.
In a separate small bowl, mix the mascarpone with the lemon zest and salt.
Gently fry the onion in a pan with olive oil until golden brown. Add the rice and toast it until it’s very hot. Add the wine.
Gradually add the crab stock to the rice in the pan. After 12 minutes, add the capsicum puree. After 6 minutes, remove the rice from heat. Set aside to rest for 1 minute.
Add the butter and parmesan. This final step in making risotto is called "mantecatura", and describes the process of vigorously incorporating butter or olive oil and grated cheese into the risotto, binding the ingredients and achieving a creamy texture.
Divide the risotto among plates. Top with the crab meat (at room temperature), a dollop of lemon mascarpone and a drizzle of olive oil.
Alessandro Pavoni is the chef at Ormeggio at the Spit in Sydney.