Sunday, February 15, 2009

Asparagus Risotto with Sea Scallops

For Valentine's Day, we decided to stay in, make dinner, and watch a movie. I decided to attempt a risotto dish. Risotto is high maintenance, so it's not something I would make every day, but it's soooooo good. I looked a whole bunch of risotto recipes, and came up with this one. It ended up being pretty tasty!

1 cup arborio rice
1 1/4 cup white wine (divided)
2-3 cups vegetable broth (or reserve the water from cooking asparagus)
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 TB minced garlic
1 lb (?) asparagus stalks
6 sea scallops
1/2 - 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper
heavy cream (optional)

1) First, prepare the asparagus. Cut off the bottom of the stalks, and then cut them into 1 inch pieces. Blanch the asparagus in boiling, salted water for about 2 minutes, until they turn bright green. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl of ice water so they stop cooking. If you don't have vegetable broth, reserve the cooking water for the risotto.

2) Put a large pan on medium heat. Add about a TB of butter and TB of olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic for a few minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the rice. Stir the rice to coat with olive oil and let cook for about a minute, until rice starts becoming translucent.

3) Add about a cup of white wine, a half a cup at a time, stirring constantly. When the liquid is absorbed, add more. Then begin adding the vegetable broth (or cooking water) a half cup at a time, stirring until the liquid is absorbed. You will end up adding about 3 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of rice. The whole process takes about 20 minutes. Taste the rice as you go; it is done when it is mostly soft but still has a little bite in the middle.

4) While the risotto is cooking, start on the scallops. Make sure they are dry and add some salt and pepper to taste. Melt butter in a pan over medium high heat. Place the scallops in a pan using tongs. Allow them to cook so you get a nice carmelized sear on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn over with the tongs. Add about 1/4 cup of white wine and let the scallops cook for about another 2-3 minutes on the other side; remove from the pan.

4) When the risotto is nearly done, add the asparagus and let cook until it is warm. Add in parmesan cheese (1/2 to 1 cup, to your taste) and stir until the mixture becomes creamy. You can also add a 1/2 cup or so of cream a the end (optional). Salt and pepper to taste.

5) Plate by putting the risotto on the dish and surround with 3 scallops. Serves 2.

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