Spring Risotto with Seared Tuna

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Risotto is one of those dishes that I think most people can get behind. It is rich and creamy, and there are a ton of variations. It goes really well with seafood, poultry, or red meat, and it is easily made vegetarian (I shared my pumpkin and goat cheese risotto recipe last fall) without compromising any flavor.

Some people find risotto to be intimidating, but in just about 25 minutes armed with a ladle and a spoon, you can stir your way to a bowl full of goodness.

I paired this with seared tuna steaks, as that is what was freshest at the market, but it would be just as fantastic with beef, chicken, or another seafood. Ramp up the veggies if you want to go full-veg.

Note – I am aware spring has NOT sprung, and in-fact there is still about 6 feet of snow outside my doorstep (with more on its way). So, truthfully this is a winter-pretending-to-be-spring-risotto…just go with it…

In a medium saucepan, heat broth and water over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and keep at a simmer .

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and stir until translucent, about 3 minutes.

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Add in red pepper flakes, and then the rice into onion and garlic mixture. Cook the rice, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes.

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Stir in the white wine, and continue stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid.

Using a ladle, in about 1/2 cup increments, ladle the hot broth liquid into the rice. Stir pretty much continuously until the broth is absorbed.

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Continue to ladle, and stir, and repeat, making sure the liquid has been absorbed before each additional ladle. Right about the time you have no liquid left (mine took the full 5 cups of liquid), the rice will begin to reject any additional liquid. This is when you know it’s done. The rice will also become fully puffed up and creamy.

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While the risotto is cooking, in a separate heavy bottomed skillet, over medium-high heat, begin to heat the sesame oil until it is almost smoking.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on tuna steaks, and then coat each steak in sesame seeds.

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Place the tuna into the pan and sear for 1-2 minute on the first side. 1 minute will give you a rare center, 2 minutes will give you a more medium steak. You want the sear to cook only about 1/4 inch up the side of the tuna steak for rare.

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Flip the tuna steaks and cook for another 1-2 minutes. As you can tell I went for a rare center, cooking about 75 seconds on each side.

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Remove from the pan and place onto a plate, covered with foil.

When all the liquid has been absorbed into the rice, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, parmesan cheese, peas, and scallions.

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Just before serving, stir in most of the parsley. Give it a taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed.

I find that if I use a reduced-sodium broth, I do need to add some salt here, but if you have a full-sodium broth, you’ll probably use less.

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Serve risotto with tuna steak, topped with a sprinkle of parmesan and parsley.

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Makes: 4 entrees or 6 appetizers

Prep: 10 minutes, Cook: 30 minutes, Total: 40 minutes

For the Risotto:

  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, diced (1 medium onion)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 2 cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio works nicely)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup scallion, chopped

For the Tuna Steaks:

  • 5-6 oz tuna steaks (I only made two, and had leftover risotto, but if you have 4 tuna steaks, there will be the perfect amount of risotto to serve with)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

In a medium saucepan, heat broth and water over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and keep at a simmer.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and stir until translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add rice into onion and garlic mixture. Cook the rice, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes.

Stir in the white wine, and continue stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid.

Using a ladle, in about 1/2 cup increments, ladle the hot broth liquid into the rice. Stir continuously until the broth is absorbed.

Continue to ladle, and stir, until all the liquid has been absorbed into the rice. This will take about 20-25 minutes.

While the risotto is cooking, in a separate heavy bottomed skillet, over medium-high heat, begin to heat the sesame oil until it is almost smoking.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on tuna steaks, and then coat each steak in sesame seeds.

Place the tuna into the pan and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side. You want the sear to cook only about 1/4 inch up the side of the tuna steak.

Remove from the pan and place onto a plate, covered with foil.

When all the liquid has been absorbed into the rice, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, parmesan cheese, peas, and scallions.

Just before serving, stir in most of the parsley. Give it a taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve risotto with tuna steak, topped with a sprinkle of parmesan and parsley.


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