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Seafood Orzo Risotto

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There seems to be a common misconception that in order to eat well, you must use every pot and tool in your kitchen arsenal. Enter the one-pot wonders, meals that are sensationally delicious, healthy, and easy to clean up afterward. Cooking in one pot has so many advantages beyond just making kitchen detail the easiest job in your home. It often helps you to preserve vital nutrients lost during the use of other cooking methods, and holds in all the delicious flavours of your ingredients as well.

One-pot cooking is perhaps the oldest and most widely practiced culinary tradition, crossing boundaries of distance, time, and cultural taste. This is because, for many thousands of years, cooking in multiple vessels was either extremely impractical or simply not possible. Single-vessel meals were often a way to ensure a more equitable distribution of nutritious foods among many members of a community or extended family group.

It was a great way to prepare large amounts of food, access a broad array of nutrients through the breakdown of tough plant cell walls via heating, and provide multiple meals with minimal fuss. Plus, having more than one pot is a relatively modern concept. In the modern culinary arsenal, there are quite a few relics of the time when most cookware was intended to produce food for more than immediate families. The dutch oven, the tagine, and the sauteuse are just three of the broadly diverse cultural adaptations you can easily purchase for use in your own kitchen today.

Enamelled cast iron is incredibly versatile and can be used on the cook top, in the oven, and go directly to table. Today, it is among the most popular materials for durable vessels used in one-pot cooking. With the summer season in full swing, the last place you want to spend all of your time is over a hot stove. Why not simplify your cooking regimen so you can enjoy more time with family and friends without exhausting yourself cooking and cleaning? Here’s one of our new favourite summer dishes to get you started on your one-pot cooking spree.

Orzo Risotto with Seafood

Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, cored and chopped
  • ¼ c tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • ½ c dry vermouth
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 pound orzo
  • 1 c clam juice
  • 2 c prepared chicken broth
  • 15 mussels
  • 20 medium prawns, veined
  • ½ pound squid, cut into bite-size rings
  • 1 pound small clams or cockles
  • 1 ½ pounds halibut or other white fish cut into chunks
  • Parsley to garnish

Preparation:

First, preheat your broiler, placing the rack about 8 inches from the element. In a large ovenproof vessel, heat the oil at a medium high temperature. Saute the garlic, onion, and fennel, stirring occasionally until it is just brown, or about three minutes. Add the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper, stirring for about two minutes. Then, incorporate the vermouth and saffron, cooking for one minute longer.

Next, add the orzo, chicken broth, and clam juice, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Add the mussels and continue to simmer until almost all the liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly for about 9 minutes.

Season your prawns and squid rings with salt and add along with your tiny clams, studding the orzo mixture with them. Broil the whole thing for about five minutes. While this is cooking, salt the fish and tuck them into the mixture as well. Broil for a further five minutes or until all the seafood is completely cooked. Remove it and allow it to stand for five minutes. Garnish with parsley and be prepared for sounds of intense appreciation from your friends and family.

This is an incredibly versatile recipe. If you prefer other shellfish to clams or mussels, you can simply substitute them in an equivalent amount. As well, it lends itself to seasoning to taste. While the recipe above highlights the natural flavours of fruits of the sea, if you prefer more highly spiced dishes, you can toy with the seasoning without consequences. That’s the beauty of one-pot cooking. It is intended to be incredibly accommodating. This dish can be made in an hour, but it will always present itself as a masterpiece of subtle flavours and textures to your guests. Enjoy exploring the possibilities of one-pot cooking. Expand your horizons in a simple, efficient, and delicious way. Perhaps most importantly, skip the arduous clean-up after everyone has eaten their fill. There’s only one pot to worry about.


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