Parmesan and Pea Risotto with Seared Scallops

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My approach to cooking is often centered around whether or not the dish is dinner party approved. You’d think I have dinner parties ALL the time, but sadly I do not. That doesn’t mean this corny cook can’t dream, right? In the world of dinner party recipes, this recipe for parmesan and pea risotto with seared scallops lands high on the list of flavor AND easiness. The best part? This will leave your guests feeling happy, full and impressed. It also goes perfectly with a glass (or two) of wine! Dinner party or not, you’ll find yourself having a second helping, for sure.

Seared Scallops

1 lb. large scallops
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Parmesan and Pea Risotto

1.5 cups arborio rice (this is the key to risotto)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons salted butter
1 quart + 1/2 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped
Salt, to taste

1. Begin by heating the saucepan for the risotto with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion to the saucepan and cook 1-2 minutes, or until translucent. Add the arborio rice and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. This allows the rice to get a nutty taste. Add the wine to de-glaze the pan and cook until the liquid is absorbed.

2. Heat the chicken stock over medium-low heat until warm. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock to the rice and stir frequently until the liquid gets absorbed. Continue this process until all the chicken stock is used. This process should take 25-30 minutes.

3. The risotto should have a creamy texture with a “bite,” but be thoroughly cooked. At this point, add the butter and parmesan cheese, along with salt, to taste. Next, add the peas and stir until combined.

4. While the risotto is cooking, prepare the seared scallops. Rinse the scallops with cold water and pat dry. Add the butter and olive oil to a sauté pan and place over medium heat. While the pan heats, season the scallops with salt and pepper.

5. Place the scallops in the pan and sear for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Note: it is important to not overcook the scallops.

6. Plate the risotto and top with the seared scallops, fresh parsley and additional parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Elizabeth Canas