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Risotto with Seafood

This recipe has been reproduced with the kind permission of Pierre Beghin. Pierre runs hands-on cookery classes in Islington - la cuisine de Pierre. Each class features a complete lunch or dinner menu with three seasonal recipes that can easily be prepared by those new to cooking. A chance to learn the art of entertaining "à la française"

"When I was about five or six, I had to stand on a chair to peek inside the pots and pans to see what my mother was cooking. A few years later, I used to invite friends around to make crêpes on Wednesdays . . ."

"Pierre Beghin - patient, unflappable and a marvellous cook"
Mary Gold - The Times
"I left feeling like I was halfway to becoming a domestic goddess and much more confident about my cooking abilities".
Diana Milne - Islington Gazette
"In a few hours, Pierre managed to convince me that cooking a meal from scratch is tastier and more enjoyable than reaching for a ready meal - it really is a great way to unwind".
Caroline Jones - Top Santé, Health & Beauty


3 generous pinches of saffron threads
250 ml hot chicken stock
45g butter
1 medium onion
2 shallots
2.25 litres chicken stock
450g Italian rice (Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, Roma or Balso)
250 ml dry white wine
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tbsps olive oil
Sea food


  • Melt in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat 45g butter. Stir in 1 medium onion and 2 shallots, finely chopped. Cook over low heat until soft and clear.
  • Meanwhile, simmer over medium heat 2.25 litres chicken stock.
  • Increase the heat under the onions to medium and add 450g Italian rice. Cook, stirring often, until the rice is chalky in appearance, about 5 minutes. Add 125ml dry white wine. Stir until absorbed. Add the saffron mixture and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 250ml at a time, and simmer and stir continuously until absorbed.
  • Fold chunks of fish, shellfish or vegetables for the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking.
  • The saffron is optional. Tomato is a good addition along with parsley and other fresh herbs.
  • Add the remaining stock, 250ml at a time, until the rice is tender but still has some "bite". It should be creamy and not stiff.
  • Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Let rest for a few minutes, then serve in warmed soup dishes.

(Don't serve with Grated Parmesan cheese - traditionally cheese is not used with fish)


Fish or vegetable stock can be substituted for the chicken stock. Another approach is to sauté chunks of seafood with flavourings (garlic, shallot, herbs, wine, etc) until almost completely cooked, then stir this in at the end of the cooking time.

Serves 4

Pierre Beghin