So Luscious! So Fancy! So Christmas-Date-Night-In Perfect.
Say hello to this bowl of scallops + risotto that is about to take you by storm with all of its brown butter glory.
But back it up. Brown butter is just the beginning, er, more accurately, the finishing touch.
This feels-like-a-fancy-restaurant meal combines the love that is a pile of creamy Parmesan risotto (with a splash of white wine bcz this is a fancy restaurant, remember?) and seared scallops, garlic sautéed greens, and THEN, like we weren’t already ???????????? enough, the brown butter gets drizzled all up on top of everything. Just so you can go to heaven and back again in one bite.
In real life, while I was making this, Bjork walked into the kitchen and announced that our house smelled like a fancy restaurant.
Like, are you even ready for this level of food celebrity status? Prepare yourself.
Two of my very favorite things about this recipe are the process – or maybe better called an adventure ???? – of searing the scallops (um, PS. hi, I’m a complete novice at the scallop game, so just wanted to throw that out there) and the slow simmering of the risotto.
I am usually all-in for quick and easy meals that require little to no hands-on time. I embrace slow cookers (see also: Midwest born and raised). Short ingredient lists inspire me. I love fast food processor meals, because you can count Magic Green Sauce as a meal, right?
But slow, constantly-stirred, creamy risotto is not necessarily fast, and I love it all the more because of it.
There is something so super zen, so calming and relaxing for your always-on-the-go self when you’re standing over the stove and gradually stirring the liquid into the barely-bubbling pan of creamy arborio rice while talking to your people sitting on the other side of the counter. You’re just lazily pouring, stirring, pouring, stirring, and together you’re just talk-talk-talking. And your house smells amazing like you CAN’T EVEN because garlic + butter + white wine is basically the same thing as aromatherapy. And obviously you can and will manage to find time between stirs to take five hundred bites, you know, just to test it. It’s the purist form of food therapy.
The scallops are almost sweet and so perfectly light and luscious, but let’s tell it like it is: searing them might not be food therapy and might require some YouTube studying beforehand.
A few things that help:
- use a non-stick pan
- use grapeseed oil (high smoke point)
- get that pan pretty darn hot
- shake the pan around with the scallops in there so they don’t stick and tear
- keep a fire extinguisher handy
- just kidding
For real: You can do this. We can do this.
Fancy restaurant status is coming at you in the form of golden brown scallops, creamy Parmesan risotto, and garlic sautéed greens! ????????
**I developed this recipe in partnership with ALDI for an Instagram campaign, so while this isn’t a sponsored post per se, we did use (and enjoy!) ALDI Jumbo Scallops for the recipe! ???????? The Jumbo Scallops will be available in ALDI stores from 12/16 through the end of the holiday season, or while supplies last!**
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 minced clove garlic or 1 minced shallot (or both)
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ½ cup white wine
- 3-ish cups of chicken broth
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 1 pound jumbo scallops
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 4 cups spinach or kale
- 3 tablespoons butter
- For the Risotto: In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic or shallots and saute for a minute or two, until soft and fragrant. Add the arborio rice, stir to coat with butter. Add the white wine and enjoy the sizzles. Add the broth, ½ cup at a time, and simmer/stir after each addition until the rice is soft and creamy. I usually err on the side of more liquid to get a creamier texture. Add the parmesan and stir until incorporated. Salt + pepp to taste.
- For the Seared Scallops: Heat oil in nonstick skillet. Pat scallops dry (VERY DRY, as dry as possible), sprinkle with salt, and add to pan. They should sizzle (if not, you need a hotter pan.) Shake gently to prevent sticking. After 2-3 minutes, flip each scallop over. They should have a pretty golden brown exterior and an opaque inside. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil. Serve immediately.
- For the Sautéed Spinach: Heat the oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic, stir for a minute to get the flavor going. Add the spinach or kale and stir until wilted.
- For the Brown Butter: Put a few tablespoons of butter in a clean skillet over medium heat and stir it while watching it closely - when it starts to look golden and foamy, remove from heat, transfer to a heat-proof bowl to cool slightly, then drizzle over the risotto, scallops, and greens.
This was a helpful video tutorial I watched for searing the scallops! Thanks, Martha.