This is an excellent use of small- to medium-sized lionfish fillets, as the fish should be bite-sized. The key to a great risotto is the constant stirring for 22 minutes, so be sure to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go when you begin cooking.
In a Dutch oven, heat 1 to 2 tbsps. olive oil. Add one large chopped onion or several chopped shallots, and sauté until translucent. Add in one cup arborio rice (risotto rice) and quickly sauté to coat the rice in the oil.
Set your timer for 22 minutes and then begin adding a ladle full of stock as needed to keep the rice from sticking. Be sure to begin stirring continuously at this point and adding stock as needed.
When there are 10 minutes left, add any crisp vegetables, such as sweet or hot peppers, celery, etc. Add in your favorite seasonings, but at a minimum a pinch of salt and some fresh ground pepper. Continue to ladle in stock as needed and continue to stir.
When 5 minutes are left, add in any soft vegetables, such as mushrooms. It is also nice to add a tangy sweetness with some fruit--pomegranates or cranberries create a nice touch--and can be added at this time.
When 4 minutes are left, add in the lionfish. With 2 minutes remaining, add in any fresh herbs, such as mint or chopped chives.
When the 22 minutes are complete, the rice should be fully cooked. At this point, sprinkle and stir in about 1 or 2 tsps. of balsamic vinegar (a fruit-infused balsamic is very nice with this dish).
For a creamier risotto, also stir in about 1/4 cup of milk or cream and one or two tbsps. of fresh, finely grated Parmesan. Turn off heat and let the risotto rest for five minutes.
Serve immediately after resting; garnish with additional fresh mint sprigs.
Submitted by Susan Davis
Test Kitchen's Comment: A great way to use small- to medium-sized fillets.
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