ZenChef’s Phenomenal Clam Risotto (but with cockles instead)

So, remember last week, when I was telling you how badly I wanted to try ZenChef’s (over at Chefs Gone Wild) Clam Risotto?  Well, I did it.  I made his absolutely remarkable risotto and I’m sort of half wondering if I have died and gone to heaven?  Did I?  Somebody let me know if you read this post…to let me know if I died or not.  I mean seriously…it’s *that* good.  I even screwed it up a little–I forgot the lemon juice until after we finished eating it.  Did I mention there was not a single grain of rice left over?  We even licked the cockle shells clean.  I was going to make some really inappropriate joke about sucking cockle shells, but I’d better not.  But we did. lol  ;)   If you know me, you know that I cannot follow a recipe exactly.  It really is some sort of impossibility for me.  I do not feel complete if I don’t change things up at least just a little.  After all, a recipe really should just be a springboard for our own creativity, right?  So, I will note my (minimal) changes, even though I did stick pretty close to Zen’s original post

So, would you look at this?  Don’t you just want to dive into that plate of creamy risotto bliss?  Trust me, it’ll be the best dive you’ve ever performed.

zens risotto

Here are my changes:

*Rather than using 6 pounds (3 kilos) of clams, and a pound (1/2 kilo) of mussels I used a combination of cockles, mussels and prawns (peeled, deveined)
*I used 2 1/2 cups rice (because I had only a little left in the bag. Toss it in there, I said.
*I added the prepared prawns to the clam broth, and then added them in with the rice right away (as you know, prawns either need to be quick cooked, or long cooked for them to be tender, so I opted for long cook, so the broth would have a hint of prawn flavor as well)
*I forgot the lemon. :P
*I added freshly grated Parm cheese to serve.

See? Hardly any changes, really. Just a couple. :)

18 Responses to “ZenChef’s Phenomenal Clam Risotto (but with cockles instead)”

  1. your photography is really great. i always love reading the ingredients and drooling on my computer.


  2. Oh, Nikki.. By not making the joke, you made the joke.. :p Thank heavens I am a 26 year old guy and can appreciate it, hahaha.

    That looks just beautiful. I am in love with that risotto of Zenman’s too. I just have get my hands on some risottoreis :)


  3. Look at this baby!! Wow. I’m impressed! Are you trying to steal my job from me? Haha. :-) You did great and of course you are free to make as many changes as you want. Cooking should be fun!
    Well, thank you! I’m blushing now from all the love! Big kiss, muahhh! ;-)

    What is that joke about the cockles?? Haha


  4. Ecologically speaking, this recipe is also a good way to enjoy seafood without worrying about depleting the ocean of fish stocks. Most clams, etc on the market are farmed; just asked for farmed.

    Oh…they’re also low in contaminants (if only people knew how contaminated tuna is).


  5. That looks amazing!! Great photo! I am really going to have to try clams and mussels now.


  6. Oh Nikki, you are making my life very difficult with all these great recipes….I can’t choose what to make next:D


  7. Being the obedient type that I am – when you said “don’t you want to dive” …I did and now I have a concussion so if you don’t mind – bring me some of that so I can feel better….puleeeeeez


  8. How dare you…you flaunt your use of cockles in my face! lol

    I can taste the sweet meat of the cockle now…what a seafood, prepared wonderfully by a mid-western gal!


  9. Thank you, Furious! :) Do you really like drooling on your keyboard, though? Doesn’t that roon it? ;) lol

    Oh, Manggy, you caught me and my jokative ways! lol I was trying to be all sneaky about that. hee Thanks for the comment, too! :)

    Hi Zen! Ummm…is stealing your job from you an option? Cuz I definitely want to have your job. Or at least do a job exchange…you can be a stay at home dad of 4 plus dog and 2 birds, and I’ll cook for the rich and famous. Deal! ;) Thank you so much for a fantastic recipe! Now, about that joke…I’m a lay-dee and couldn’t possibly say it out loud. lmfao MUAC! backatcha. :D

    Hi Chris! Thanks for the info. I’m pretty sure most of the mollusks in Spain are farmed, though we do have a pretty abundant wild supply as well. I didn’t know about them being low in contaminants, though. :)

    Kevin, DO try them! Just be sure to buy them live and give them a good soak in salted water for several hours or overnight to rid them of their sandy grit. You will be a clam eatin fool! ;)

    Valli, sorry about making your life difficult! I didn’t mean to, honest! lol It’s Zen’s fault for making this risotto in the first place. ;) lol

    Giz! Oh my! Let me just get that plane ticket and I’m on my way to take care of you and feed you risotto. lol ;)

    Dem’s da breaks, Peter. You flaunt your beautiful food in my face everyday, it’s only fair to give you a dose of your own medicine once in a while. ;) lol And how about that? A Minnesota girl cookin’ up cockles with the best of em. lol :D


  10. I’m still not sure that I’m mature enough to say cockles. I saw ZenChef’s post for this and starred it there. Sometime soon, I’m going to make this.


  11. Cg! I won’t give away your secret that you are not too lady-like to say such a thing. OOPS! Just did! lmbo! shhhh…I never said it. ;)

    That looks SO delicious!

    Cockles cockles cockles. Just because it’s a funny word. Sucking cockle shells is even funnier! (said the 13 year old in me.)


  12. It does look like a good mess or creamy risotto goodness. I gotta find me some cockles.


  13. Psychgrad, I’m definitely not mature enough to say cockles without giggling. And sometimes that happens with crabs, too. What can I say? I’m still a teen at heart. lmao

    Elle, WAY to let out my secret, hey. Now everyone knows I’m a 13 year old swearing like a sailor dirty joke tellin fool. :P lmfao Ok…now sing this to Peter Cottontail: Here comes lil canarygirl, suckin on a cockle shell… I can’t get that out of my freakin head. I am so lame.

    RecipeGirl, you really should look for them…they are heaven on a plate. :)


  14. I believe I would have died and gone to heaven with this dish. Am a huge seafood lover and certainly don’t make enough seafood dishes. You need to travel an hour away to get decent seafood around where I live!


  15. Pixie, that is totally how I felt about this dish. LOL :)


  16. This looks utterly amazing! Send out a search party, ‘cuz I absolutely could dive right into that plate! ;) The cockles look so much prettier than clams too. I wish I could get them here.


  17. That has to be one of the most amazing food photos I have ever seen!


  18. Susan, it truly is…:)

    Alisa, thank you! What a lovely compliment! I’m flattered. :D


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