Saturday, June 26, 2010

Scallop Risotto

North Americans often complain about how arduous it is to make risotto. “All that stirring!” is a common refrain I hear. In our hectic modern lives, I think we’ve lost sight of the pleasures that can be derived from preparing food.

Many of us do not even realize that the things we eat now were much harder to make before modern innovation. For example, Irish or steel-cut oats require 15-30 minutes to prepare instead of the 2 minutes it takes to make quick oats in the microwave. The same is true for instant rice. Many young people probably consider using cake mixes and frozen cookie batter as authentic baking, not realizing that traditionally all these things were made from scratch.

In this context, stirring risotto for 20 minutes can seem like a lifetime. However, having recently served it, I was reminded that it really is not as difficult as it seems. This scallop risotto is a perfect summer dish. To learn more about scallops see another recipe from last summer; to learn more about risotto see a winter version here.

3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups pumpkin flesh, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (do not use canned pumpkin)
1 cup broccoli florets
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic or garlic paste
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (about 10 ounces)
1/4 to 1/2 Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt, pepper, garlic powder to season
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 to 2lbs scallops

1. In a medium pot, warm stock until simmering.
2. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add pumpkin and sauté for five minutes. Then add broccoli and continue cooking for until five minutes until pumpkin is slightly soft. Set aside.
3. In the same pot, heat olive oil and garlic. Once fragrant, sauté onion until translucent (after 10 minutes).
4. Add Arborio rice and stir until coated with oil.
5. Add 1/2 cup warm broth and stir gently until it is all absorbed. Continue adding spoonfuls of broth and stirring until absorbed.
6. After 15 minutes add pumpkin and broccoli.
7. Continue adding broth until the rice is tender but still al dente. You may have stock remaining.
8. Finish with Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
9. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel.
10. Season scallops with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
11. In a large skillet on medium high, heat olive oil. Sauté scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side.
12. Plate risotto and top with scallops.