Saffron mussels and clam risotto

Dinner tonight was a lovely saffron risotto with mussels and clams.  I didn’t stand over the stove stirring constantly.  I couldn’t (carpal tunnel, baby needed feeding), and in any case, remembered watching a risotto masterclass on Masterchef Australia where George Calombaris said to ‘agitate’ the rice rather than stir.   Either way, this was a tasty dish and it reminded me of a seafood paella, albeit with a creamy consistency.  I cooked the risotto with water rather than stock.  By all means, use fish stock.   I reasoned that water infused with saffron, leek, onions and garlic, plus mussels and clams would be create a depth of flavour akin to a good stock.  It did.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 175g arborio rice
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 600ml – 700ml water
  • 200g mussels, beard trimmed
  • 200g clams, cleaned
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup of single cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/2 lemon


  1. Heat oil in a heavy-based pot over medium heat
  2. Softened the chopped onion and leek in the pot with a pinch of salt for 2 to 3 minutes
  3. Add the garlic, leave to cook for a minute
  4. Add the rice, stir until translucent (2 – 3 minutes)
  5. Add the saffron, followed by a ladle of water.  Stir through and leave until almost all the liquid is absorbed
  6. Repeat with another ladle or two of water at a time until the rice is almost cooked (about 15 minutes)
  7. Add one more ladle of water to the pot, followed by the wine, mussels and clams
  8. Put the lid on the pot, and leave to cook for 10 minutes (you may need to top up some water in the pot as you will need steam to cook the mussels/clams) until the mussels/clams are all open and the rice is creamy
  9. Turn off the heat, pour the cream into the pot, season with salt and pepper
  10. Garnish with parsley and add a squeeze of lemon juice before serving




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