Saturday, December 4, 2010

Seared Scallops over Risotto with Crumbled Bacon

Risotto requires constant attention so is not my favorite to make for a crowd, but it's perfect for an "intimate" dinner with your man, or with best friends!  Top it with a decadent scallop and it's close to perfection.  So listen up ladies - if you want to impress a guy, I think this meal is your golden ticket.  The execution was actually a joint effort in our house, but this is the perfect "date night" dinner - it's not too difficult to make, but has gourmet flavors and tastes like something you'd order at a restaurant.  Score!  

A couple of weekends ago I had purchased some scallops but wasn't sure what I was going to do with them.  I remembered seeing a scallop and risotto recipe on Jen's cooking blog (she has TWO blogs - I don't know how she does it!) a long time ago, and looked for it for inspiration.  (Here's her version).  Luckily we had some bacon in the fridge and were able to pull this together easily.  John was in charge of the scallops and I handled the risotto.  I followed the same recipe I always use for risotto, which is Giada DeLaurentiis' "basic risotto." And since we always have a mondo tub of spinach in the fridge, I served this with some steamed spinach for some extra antioxidants to my otherwise decadent meal ;-)

Seared Scallops over Risotto with Crumbled Bacon
Serves 2

3/4 pounds sea scallops
2 pieces bacon
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cups Aborio rice 
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

For the scallops:
Cook 2 pieces of bacon in a pan over medium heat.  Remove when fully cooked and place on paper towels.  In the same pan, sear the scallops over medium high heat for about 3 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked.  

Meanwhile, cook the risotto:
Pour broth into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat with butter.  Add the wine and simmer for about 2 - 3 minutes, until the wine is completely evaporated.  Add 1/2 cup of the broth and stir until almost completely absorbed by the rice.  Keep adding the broth, 1/2 cup full at a time, until completely absorbed by the rice.  Make sure you stir constantly throughout this process. You'll want the broth to be absorbed by the rice each time before you add the next 1/2 cup.  The end result needs to be a creamy consistency but still a little crunch to the bite.   Remove the risotto from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

Plate the risotto, then top with scallops.  Crumble bacon on top, and serve with a steamed vegetable, like spinach, asparagus, or broccoli.

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