scallops and risotto

Valentine’s Dinner Recap: Scallops with Porcini Risotto

Valentine’s Day is all about love, and I love risotto. Scallops are Hunter’s favorite seafood. Therefore, this meal is everything.

Our Valentine’s Day tradition is simple. We stay in, I make a fabulous meal! I made this exact same meal for our anniversary dinner last year. Hunter loved it so much, he asked for it again. It was my first attempt at risotto, and my first attempt at scallops. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that neither was very difficult to prepare (yay! More time to eat!)

This year, the holiday fell on a Sunday, so I had nothing but time. I did hit a quick Zyn22 class in the morning to prepare for the Valentine’s eats. Could be my fave new cycling studio! A quick trip to the grocery store, a few minutes of prep, and lots of risotto stirring later, voila! These recipes always seem to get better the second time around.

This recipe was developed by Paul Palop and can be found on That Other Cooking Blog. I’ve adapted it just a little. An easy shortcut is to buy the arborio rice with porcinis already mixed in – I used a brand called Manitou, which I picked up at Central Market (they had no porcinis, or at least no porcinis that I could find.)

You’ll need:

  • 6 scallops
  • 1 cup of arborio rice
  • 1 cup of dry porcini mushrooms (or, combine the second two bullets and get the packaged porcini risotto)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cups of chicken, vegetable or mushroom stock (I used vegetable and mushroom!)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (or more…)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 oregano leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

plated scallops and risottoDirections:

  • Cook the onions with olive oil over medium heat (you can use a wide saucepan, a stock pot, a dutch oven, or a deep skillet.)
  • Add the rice and very lightly toast. Add the wine, garlic, and some salt. Cook and stir for a less than a minute, making sure it doesn’t brown.
  • Add a cup of stock and stir. Bring to a simmer, and stir some more. Add the oregano leaves and bay leaf.
  • Once the rice absorbs the stock, add another cup of stock and continue stirring. Continue doing this for about 30 minutes. You can also add a little salt throughout, just avoid over-salting.
  • Taste for doneness. When the rice is feeling only slightly undercooked, start prepping the mushrooms.
  • Cook the dry mushrooms in a small saucepan with a little water. Bring to a boil and cover. (you can also do this ahead of time!)
  • Remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and mushroom liquid to the risotto.
  • Add the butter. Melt and keep stirring.
  • Add parmesan cheese and fish sauce. Reduce any excess liquid until you end up with a creamy risotto. Remove from heat and get ready for scallop action.
  • Dry the scallops with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat. The goal is to sear one side really nicely. When the oil in the skillet ripples a bit and is about to start smoking, carefully add the scallops. Sear them for a minute to a minute and a half. Avoid moving them before that, because when they start cooking, the scallops can get stuck to the skillet and if you try to move them, you might damage them (no pressure!)
  • After a minute or so, the scallops are naturally released and you can check to see if they’re browning nicely. Remove from heat after a couple of minutes.
  • Flip the scallops and cover with a lid for about two minutes. They will cook in their own steam. Set the scallops aside, deglaze the skillet with a splash of wine, and reduce a little bit. Add the liquid to the risotto and stir well. All done – top with S&P, more parm, more oregono – whatever you like!
crab cake

Supplemental crab cake! Yum!


I served the scallops and risotto with a Maryland crab cake that I did NOT prepare, although it was amazing enough to be pictured. Thanks CM!

XOXO, hope you all had a delicious Valentine’s Day!

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