For Christmas Eve dinner, my sister and I prepared a meal perfect for the night before Christmas because it won’t compete with the rib roast and Yorkshire pudding. Scallops seared to a caramel brown sit atop a creamy risotto made with bacon, basil, jalapeno and bright red tomatoes – creating a red and green festive plate.
I’ve made this risotto a couple times before, after seeing it here on We Are Not Martha. However, I’ve had to change a few things. For example, adding the tomatoes at the very-very end to prevent them from dissolving into the risotto. Also, I used more chicken stock than it called for, to add extra creaminess. The only fat you’ll need comes from the smoky bacon, which will blow your family away with the addition of garlic and white wine.
Truly, there’s little to dislike about this dish. The following offers small portions for 4 people, but plenty for 2-3.
Seared scallops with Christmas risotto
- 1 pound large sea scallops, rinsed, patted dry, salt and peppered
- 1 T butter
- 1 T EVOO
- 3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, minced (or 1/2 of large jalapeno) – approx 2 tsp
- 3/4 c. arborio rice
- 1/2 c. dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
- 3 c. chicken stock, low-sodium
- 2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced (roughly 1 c.)
- Handful fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 c. Parmesano Reggiano, grated, plus more for serving
Heat chicken stock in medium saucepan over medium heat on back burner. Keep simmering.
Meanwhile, add bacon to large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, reducing heat to medium-low, until bacon is crispy. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then pour off all but 1 T of the bacon fat.
Return pan to medium-low heat and add garlic and jalapeno (you could also substitute a pinch of red pepper flakes here). Cook for a minute, until foaming.
Stir in rice and cook until translucent around the edges; 1-2 min.
Add wine, scraping up the bacon bits from the bottom. When wine is absorbed, add 1 ladle (1/2 c.) chicken stock. Stir until absorbed, repeating until all the stock is used or the risotto is creamy with just the smallest bite to it. You don’t want it to be grainy in the middle – but slightly al dente. Check for seasonings (I’ve never had to add extra salt and pepper).
While the rice is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium heat with butter and EVOO. When butter is melted and foaming, add scallops and sear until a nice brown crust forms on each side. Reserve to a plate.
When risotto is done, stir in the cheese until melted, then add the basil, tomatoes and reserved bacon.
To serve, spoon risotto onto plates, then top with scallops. Serve with extra cheese to dust on top.
I can’t tell you how delicious this is. Served with more white wine and a salad, my family was sighing with happiness. Please try this – special enough for a holiday, but perfect for any ol’ day. Enjoy, friends! xoxo