Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dinner Tonight: Grilled Scallops with Risotto


This sounds so fancy, right?  I hope it doesn't sound complicated because it's not.  Trust me!  You want to hear a secret?  I often eat scallops for lunch.  They're so quick and easy, that I buy them and prepare them just this way for a quick lunch with my toddlers.  If I can do that, you can do it for dinner.  The risotto is simple too.  Don't let the fancy title intimidate you...you'll be dining in no time.

Here's a tip about buying scallops, always buy the large, fresh scallops from behind the seafood counter at your grocery store.  Skip the frozen stuff and get the real thing.  I would eat the scallops pretty soon after buying them too (within 1-2 days of buying them).  All you do is bring them home and they're ready to cook.  No chopping or peeling...easy.  Scallops are a perfect summer time meal.


Shopping List
1 cup Arborio rice
2 quarts chicken stock (not broth, stock...use veggie stock if you're making this a vegetarian dish)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
3-6 (depending on your love for garlic) chopped garlic cloves
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 pound fresh, large scallops
Lots of Lemon-Pepper seasoning
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and Salt and Pepper, of course!

This meal should take you about 30 minutes from start to finish.  Relax...risotto is a cinch!

In a large stock pot, bring chicken stock up to low simmer (not boiling, just a simmer...keep a lid on it to trap liquid inside)
In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, add onion and bell pepper and saute 6-7 minutes.  Add in garlic and cook an additional minute.  Stir in rice for another minute. 
At this point, take a ladle and add 1 cup of your hot stock to the rice.  Stir constantly for a minute or so.  As the liquid evaporates, the rice will become super starchy and delicious.  Stir pretty often, adding stock every time the majority of the liquid evaporates.  You will continue doing this for about 18 minutes.  Add stock, stir, wait for it to evaporate and add more.  This will cause the risotto to fluff up and look creamy (without using any cream!)  A lot of recipes will tell you to stir continuously...but you don't need to.  Just stir it around every few minutes and you'll be fine.

After the rice is tender (take a bite!), stir in frozen peas and continue cooking another 3-4 minutes.  Stir in cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the scallops, generously cover the scallops in your lemon-pepper seasoning.  You can either place the scallops over medium-high heat on the grill and cook each side about 3 minutes or you can place them in a skillet with just a tablespoon of EVOO and cook them over medium-high heat about 3 minutes as well.

Add grilled scallops to your risotto and dinner is done!

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