Mussel Risotto

March/April 1991

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Mussels and saffron star in this creamy risotto. Make it a meal: Serve with Sliced Tomato Salad and whole-grain baguette.

Mussel Risotto

Makes: 4 servings

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  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded (see Tip)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cups arborio rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Bring water and wine to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add mussels and steam until the shells open, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and reserve the broth. (Discard any mussels that have not opened.) Shell the mussels, set aside and keep warm. Strain the broth through a cheesecloth or filter-lined sieve into a small saucepan. Add 1 cup water, salt, saffron and keep at a simmer.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan or deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add rice and stir well to coat with oil. Add the hot cooking liquid to the rice, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed between each addition, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. After about 20 minutes, the rice should be tender but still creamy. Carefully stir in the shelled mussels and parsley and season with pepper.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: To clean & debeard mussels: Use a stiff brush to scrub mussels under running water. Discard any with broken shells or any whose shells remain open after you tap them lightly. Scrape off any barnacles; pull off the black fibrous “beard”.


Per serving: 209 calories; 3 g fat (0 g sat, 2 g mono); 16 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 1 g fiber; 457 mg sodium; 264 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (36% daily value), Vitamin C (17% dv), Iron (16% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1 very lean meat

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Recipe Categories

Total Time
45 minutes or less
Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique

Ease of Preparation
March/April 1991
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