HERE'S TO MOM ALL YEAR LONG

It all started in the 1850s, when Ann Reeves Jarvis held Mother's Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination. The groups also tended wounded soldiers from both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

In the postwar years Jarvis and other women organized Mother's Friendship Day picnics and other events as pacifist strategies to unite former foes.

But it was her daughter Anna who was most responsible for Mother's Day as a national holiday. Anna Jarvis never had children of her own, but the 1905 death of her own mother inspired her to organize the first Mother's Day observances in 1908.

Largely through Jarvis's efforts, Mother's Day came to be observed in a growing number of cities and states until U.S. President Woodrow Wilson officially set aside the second Sunday in May in 1914 for the holiday.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an average of $162.94 on Mother’s Day.  The U.S. National Restaurant Association reports that Mother's Day is the year's most popular holiday for dining out.

But Mom should be acknowledged all year long because her love and care are constant. And what could be easier and more flavorful than…

Shellfish Risotto with a Choice of Fresh Italian White Wine

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more to finish 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped 
  • 2 cups Arborio rice 
  • 2 cups dry white wine, preferably a dry white from northern Italy 
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock, kept warm on stove 
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 1/2 pound Manila, littleneck or cherrystone clams, scrubbed 
  • 1/2 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded 
  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • 1/4 cup squid (bodies only), cleaned, split lengthwise and cut crosswise into thin slices 
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half 
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus additional for sprinkling 
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Make the risotto: In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat until hot.
  2. Stir in the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, stirring to coat thoroughly with the oil, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until the grains look opaque.
  4. Pour in 1 cup wine and cook over high heat until the liquid is evaporated, stirring constantly.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and slowly add in the stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, so that the rice stays wet but is never completely covered with liquid.
  6. Stir continuously.
  7. Once the rice absorbs the stock in the pan, add more by the half cupful, stirring constantly to make sure the liquid is absorbed before adding more stock.
  8. Be patient and stir consistently; keep the heat on gentle.
  9. Continue cooking until the rice is tender but still has a tiny hard spot in the center, about 17 to 19 minutes.
  10. The amount of liquid can vary, but you should reserve 1/3 cup of warm stock to loosen the risotto before serving.
  11. Once al dente, remove the pan from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoon of remaining extra-virgin olive oil and the final 1/2 cup of stock.
  12. Cover with aluminum foil or a lid and keep warm over very low heat while you sauté the seafood.
  13. Sauté the seafood: In a large skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly colored, about 2 minutes.
  14. Add the clams, mussels, shrimp and squid, cover and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked and the clams and mussels have opened, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  15. Discard any shellfish that do not open.
  16. Plate the risotto: Divide the risotto among 4 bowls, shaking or tapping each dish lightly to make sure the risotto spreads evenly in the bottom.
  17. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the shellfish onto the risotto.
  18. Pour the remaining cup of wine into the pan that you used to cook the shellfish, and add the tomatoes, parsley and red pepper flakes.
  19. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat and cook, mashing the tomatoes a bit, until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes.
  20. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  21. Ladle the sauce over the shellfish and risotto.
  22. Top with a little parsley and final drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately. 

Suggested Wines

 ATTEMS Pinot Grigio Collio 2007 (A full-bodied style with lots of character, from peach tart to lemon seed to mineral. Crisp and lively).

CANTINA TERLANO Pinot Bianco Alto Adige 2007 (A minerally, fresh white, with lemon and green apple character, a medium-to-full body and a crisp, clean finish. Wonderful subtlety and freshness).

CANTINA GIRLAN Pinot Grigio Alto Adige Filadonna 2007 (Mineral and pear skin aromas, with lemon peel, follow through to a medium body, with good acidity and a long finish).

S. MICHAEL-EPPAN Pinot Bianco Alto Adige Schulthauser 2007 (Plenty of floral, apple and banana aromas and flavors follow through to a medium-to-full body, with good fruit and a clean finish).

COLTERENZIO Pinot Grigio Alto Adige 2007 (Very fresh and minerally, with lots of lemon zest and hints of lime. Medium-bodied, with very crisp acidity and a steely, clean finish).

BOLLINI Pinot Grigio Trentino 2007 (This nicely balanced white offers apple and light honey aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, with a crisp, refreshing finish).

COLLAVINI Pinot Grigio Collio Villa Canlungo Black Label 2007 (Baked apples, with hints of minerals and spicy pie crust. Medium-bodied, with fresh, spicy flavors that linger). 

.CANTINA TRAMIN Pinot Bianco Alto Adige 2008 (Aromas of lemons, apple skin and unripe pineapple. Medium body, with a good core of fruit and a clean, fresh finish).

PLOZNER Pinot Grigio Grave del Friuli 2007 (A friendly Pinot Grigio, with apple, honey and lemon character. Medium-bodied with a clean finish).