At first, this seemed like a pretty tame challenge. Orzo, mushrooms, crab – throw it all together. But, I wanted this to be a hearty dinner meal, so I thought about how to enliven this dish up to make it hearty and special. Hence, a risotto! It was creamy and thick and cheesy, I added lots of crab and decided to add some shrimp too, which I knew the family would enjoy. The peaches gave me pause. I didn’t want to add a fruit to this dish, infused right into the risotto – as I didn’t want it too sweet. But it was part of the challenge so I knew I had to make it work. After some thinking, I realized that since I was going to use marsala wine, which is sweet to begin with, I thought I’d liven that up, so I soaked an entire can (sans juice) of sliced peaches into the marsala wine I was going to use in the recipe. Hours later I tasted it and there was a distinct “peachy” taste to the marsala now (and I got to munch on the peaches, which I finished pretty quickly!)
The dish took a lot time to make – was on my feet for nearly 40 minutes stirring, but that’s what risotto is all about. Stirring and adding and stirring and adding. But it was worth it. It was creamy and moist and as soon as my husband and daughter started eating, there was this sigh of relief that it was good! The husband said, “this is good, it’s juicy (juicy? I think he meant that it wasn’t dry), you can definitely taste the crab, I like it.” The daughter said it was great, she loved the shrimp. Me? I thought it was hearty and tasty and we’re going to have the leftovers for dinner tomorrow. ONLY thing I would change was the capers. I’d use 1/8 of a cup instead of a 1/4 cup – lots of zing to capers, but the dish did need the salt aspect. Overall, a great success!
Seafood Mushroom Orzo Risotto
- 1 box orzo
- 12 oz crab meat (I used real canned crab, sifted through for shells)
- 1 lb cleaned raw shrimp (cook in boiling water for 2 minutes 30 seconds and then set aside to cool)
- 4 cups or more of fish stock (I needed another cup for the orzo)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup Marsala wine (which I let sit in a can of drained sliced peaches)
- 1/2 cup cream (we used whole lactaid milk)
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup - 1 cup portabella mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/8 - 1/4 cup large capers
- 2 green onions finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- salt to taste
- 4 tbs olive oil
In a 10 inch pan add olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic and mushrooms, lowering heat a bit and saute for a few minutes. Add the orzo and stir well so that it is coated with the oil. Continue cooking and stirring for another minute or two, then add the marsala and white whine and stir well.
Next start adding the fish stock, one cup at a time. Add the first cup and stir well, bringing the dish to a slow boil, then turn the heat slightly down. You don't want it to boil too hard. Cook for another minute - three, till you see the water starting to boil off, then add the next cup. Again, let get to a low boil, stirring all the time and letting the mixture thicken. Stir and stir. Add the third cup and then the 4th with the same process. This takes a while... you must keep stirring so the pasta does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add more fish stock (or water) if all the water is absorbed, continually stirring. Taste test and it should be close to al dente by now (I like my orzo on the soft, not hard side).
Now add the cheese a little at a time, while stirring so it melts nicely together. Then begin to add the cream (or milk), continuing to stir. Then lower heat very low and let it cook more, while stirring. Add the capers and green onions, pepper and salt to taste, mix and then add the crab. Mix all together and then lastly add the shrimp. Let it all blend together and then serve warm!