Risotto with White Fish and Orange 4

Risotto with White Fish and Orange

This is one of my family’s favorite meals, especially my children. It’s packed full of nutrients with the homemade fish stock I use as a base and has the extra benefit of a wonderful, flaky fish that is often palatable for even those picky eaters. I most often use halibut or cod for my fish of choice, but any white fish, with a mild flavor will do.

Risotto with White Fish and Orange 3Fresh risotto is easy to make, but does require you to stand near the stove stirring the rice for about 25-30 minutes. Have your side dish prepared before hand or have something that you can easily throw together at the end, because risotto is best to eat as soon as it’s been made.

The simplest side and a nice compliment is a fresh salad. The fresh vegetable go well with the thick, creamy, richness of the risotto.

Like any number of wonderful dishes, risotto can take a little practice to perfect and achieve a superb creaminess with a rice that is still a bit al dente. However, in the end you’ll still always have a dish that everyone can enjoy even if not perfect (of course isn’t perfect a personal preference in the end) and each time you make it you can learn to perfect it to your families liking.

Risotto with White Fish and Orange 5
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Risotto with White Fish and Orange

Course: Main Course
Author: Ann Timm


  • 5-6 cups homemade fish stock
  • 2-3 tbsp. coconut or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced white onion
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • Juice and zest from 2 organic oranges room temperature
  • Unrefined sea salt
  • 1 lb white fish of choice sliced into 1" chunks
  • 4 tbsp. organic butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • Optional: extra parmigiano-reggiano cheese orange zest and slices of orange for garnish


  • Bring broth to a very slow simmer on a burner close to where you'll be cooking the risotto. It's important for your stock to stay hot through the whole cooking process.
  • In a deep, large pan or pot heat oil. Add diced onion and saute over medium heat until soft and translucent. Do not brown onion. Add the Arborio rice and while stirring constantly "cook" rice for 1-2 minutes until it begins to become translucent on the edges and is well coated in the oil. If necessary, you can add a bit more oil to the pan if it seems too dry.
  • Add the juice and zest from the two oranges, stirring constantly. When most of the liquid has simmered off, add a ladle full of the hot stock. Stir the rice until the liquid is gone and then add another scoop of stock. The method of adding a small amount of stock, stirring and letting the rice absorb the stock before adding more is the essential steps that makes risotto what it is. Any other method of cooking the rice would essential leave you with a steamed end product and nothing close to the creamy consistency a true risotto will have. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan so the rice doesn't stick and always keep the pan hot. On my stove, medium heat is great. It keeps the risotto at a simmer, but isn't so hot that it burns.
  • Continue to add a ladle full of the stock at a time. After about 20 minutes, your rice should begin to soften, but still be hard enough that it needs a bit more cooking. Give the rice a quick taste test and add salt if needed. There should be no more than about 5 - 10 minutes left before the rice will be done. Add your chunks of fish and another ladle full of stock. Gently stir the fish into the risotto, while still scraping the bottom of the pan to keep rice from sticking. Be gentle with the fish! You aren't trying to break it apart, but lightly cook it in the steam and heat of the rice. Because fish can be rather fragile, it will break apart some, that's fine, you just don't need to encourage it to do so. Continue to add the rest of the stock one ladle full at a time (if you run our of stock you can use hot water instead).
  • When the rice is about 1-2 minutes from being done, it should be creamy and still very slightly al dente, add butter and parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Stir gently until butter has melted and the cheese is fully incorporated.
  • Remove from heat and taste. Add more salt if necessary. Serve immediately on a platter or more family style and the way we most often do it, directly from the pan. I like to add a couple of fresh orange slices to the plate and sprinkle a little more orange zest on top too!


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  1. Oh, my word! I am a lover of risotto, but would have never thought to add my protein directly to the rice! This sounds amazing….

  2. this sounds so interesting with the orange paired with fish. we had risotto last night, but it was butternut squash. i tried subbing sweet brown rice for the arborio rice, and though it took a little longer to cook it tasted great! also, i am a sucker for white wine in risotto – make it so rich. i bet it would taste good in this one as well.

  3. Rita – I hope you do try the recipe and love it! Let me know your thoughts once you have.

    Charis – white wine is great in this recipe and I used to make it with 1 cup of white wine in the beginning, however the orange juice has taken the place of the wine for us and we have found that we really like the flavor this way. I’m pregnant, so to open a bottle of wine for just the risotto and my husband to drink, often seems excessive, especially when the orange juice is actually excellent and perhaps even better.

    Cindy – we love risotto too and I almost always add my protein to the risotto at some point in the cooking process. Although, we often eat risotto without meat. Our other favorite rissotto is a wild mushroom one and then we poach and egg and put it on top at the end. Soooo good! The soft yoke acts as a sauce for the risotto. Here’s is the old recipe I used, but I need to update it and get new pictures for the small changes I’ve made to it. http://artistta.blogspot.com/2010/02/mushroom-risotto.html

  4. This sounds great and I can eat all but the butter and cheese due to allergies. Have you tried it without the butter?

    1. Hi Nicole, the butter and cheese is an important part of a good risotto. It’s what adds quite a bit of flavor and creaminess. However, it doesn’t necessarily affect the cooking. So, you could do it without, it just won’t taste the same. Off the top of my head, I’m not sure what a good substitute would be to help encourage the creaminess, but hey, I would certainly give it a try. You will need more salt without the cheese.

  5. This recipe looks absolutely delicious! I didn’t start eating fish until my honeymoon (so almost 7 years ago)….I can’t believe I went without for 24 years! It’s so yummy and healthy! I must try this! Thanks for sharing!

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