Friday, December 11, 2009

Guest post: Scallop risotto

One of my favorite things to cook, for family and friends, is risotto. I always loved ordering it when we went out to eat, but I figured it was one of those dishes I'd only get to enjoy in a restaurant. What did I know? It's easy to make, is a wonderful comfort food, and, whenever I make it for friends, they're always impressed because they think it's too hard to make. I've even blogged about risotto before over here.

Anyway, here's what you'll need for approximately four servings:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion—finely chopped
2 cloves garlic—finely chopped
1 red pepper, chopped


16 uncooked scallops (if they're really big, you can use fewer. I usually cut them into halves or quarters)
6 sun-dried tomatoes—cut into small pieces (or more!)
½ teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

COOK THROUGH and set aside (I usually keep the heat on low).

Meanwhile, bring 5 cups fish, chicken or vegetable stock (I usually use chicken or vegetable—low sodium versions) to a simmer.

To make the risotto you need:

1 ½ cups arborio rice
½ cup white wine

Now the fun stirring begins. In a large pot, heat one T. of unsalted butter and some olive oil (probably 1 T. but I just pour in a glug). Saute 1/4 c. finely chopped onion and then pour in the uncooked rice, and stir to coat all the grains well. Keep the heat on medium (you want it to bubble/boil softly) and add the wine, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed. Basically, when you can draw a wooden spoon through the rice and it leaves a "clear" path/streak for a second or two, you're ready top add more liquid. Now, add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed (just like with the wine--when you can draw spoon through the rice mixture, add the next half-cup of broth).

Continue adding the simmering broth to the risotto until there's only 1/4-1/2 cup broth left in the pan. Add the broth and the scallop mixture, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients:

1 cup tightly-packed spinach leaves, cut into slices (I know there's a fancy term for this but I don't know it).
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
fresh tomatoes

Give it another good stir to mix everything together and voila! You just made risotto.

One of the great things about this recipe is once you get the basics down (how much broth to how much rice), you can mix it up with the rest of the ingredients. Do you like mushrooms? Go for it (me, personally, I detest them). I've made this with smoked salmon and dill. Yum. Or chicken. Whatever. All you've really got to know is the basic formula of rice and broth and how to let it simmer/cook.

Guest blogger Judy Larsen is used to cooking for one husband and four kids who love everything she cooks (or at least are savvy enough to not say otherwise) and one kid who for years lived on only "white" foods.


  1. Oh, YUM, Judy! YUM. Risotto is definitely one of those things I've always been scared of. I guess the key is just to be sure it's the only thing I have to do at that moment, so I don't walk away and have it all get ruined. (Not that I've done THAT before...she says, whistling innocently.)

  2. TC--it really is easy. Stir, relax, stir, relax. The relaxing part is aided by sipping wine. But then what isn't?

  3. This looks great! I have made risotto once and it wasn't a good experience. But I am willing to try again. And I like scallops when they are cooked IN things, but not just by themselves, so this gives me a good reason to cook scallops again.

  4. I adore scallops, but have never tried to cook them at home. I think now I have a reason to try. Scallops. Rice. Together. Sounds like the perfect meal!!

  5. I'll skip the scallops (allergic) but have to try the risotto part! It sounds so easy compared to other recipes I've looked at. I hae my heart set on a special chicken dish with risotto for my little guy. My "big" guy (husband) will eat *anything*!

    Thanks for a wonderful guest post, Judy.

  6. Glad you all liked this (scallops or no). It's really fun to make--and this process makes it easy.

    Thanks for letting me join the party!

  7. This looks like such an awesome recipe, I am thinking of heading to the store right now. I wish I had seen this earlier--I might have made this for Christmas Eve dinner. Thanks for sharing!