Mussel, Cockle and Bacon Risotto

From issue #4.
Photography by Photography by Simon Devitt.
Mussel, Cockle and Bacon Risotto

Serves: 4 - 6


1 kilo each mussels and cockles
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup of dry white wine
12 rashers streaky bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cups risotto rice e.g. Vialone nano
4 cups fish or chicken stock, hot
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
zest of 1 lemon and juice to taste
1⁄2 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
extra virgin olive oil to drizzle


Scrub the shellfish and de-beard the mussels. If the cockles are sandy, purge them in clean, salted water, overnight.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté one clove of garlic until it begins to colour. Add the mussels and 1⁄4 cup of wine, cover, increase the heat and remove each mussel as it opens. Reserve the liquor.

Discard the shells and cut the mussel meat in half if large. Set aside.
If you are preparing these earlier in the day, put a little of the reserved liquor over the mussels to stop them drying out.

Repeat the process with the cockles.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a wide deep sauté pan over medium heat. Dice 6 rashers of bacon and sauté gently with the onion, celery and remaining garlic.

When the onion is soft, add the rice, stirring well to coat each grain in the oil. Cook for another minute until the rice is warm (toasted).

Add the remaining wine, the reserved liquor and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Begin adding the hot stock, a ladle at a time, stirring and allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next quantity.

When the risotto is tender to the bite and has a creamy consistency (15-20 minutes), add the mussels and cockles, stir gently for a couple of minutes until the seafood is hot and the risotto is tender. Add a little extra stock if necessary to ensure a creamy texture. Add the lemon zest and juice, and the flat leaf parsley. Taste and season if required.

While the risotto is cooking, grill or fry the remaining bacon rashers until crisp. Serve the risotto in warm shallow bowls with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and a rasher of bacon on top. Serves 4-6