POV: it is cold outside, and you are curled up with a bowl of creamy, and indulgent hot risotto. While this risotto is a must try all on it’s own, add perfectly seared scallops and you go from an any day meal to a date night-in worthy dish. Before you turn away because the last thing you want to do is slave over a pot of risotto, it is actually easier and quicker than you think. Like the rest of my risotto recipes this easy approach to risotto does not require constant stirring to achieve that creamy perfectly cooked texture risotto is known for.
This risotto gets the majority of it’s flavor from brown butter. Before you ask, no it is not burnt, just browned. If you have never browned butter before it is time you take out the saucepan. So what is brown butter exactly? It is gently and slow cooked butter (5-7 minutes on low heat) until the milk solids have toasted and separated from the fat. The result is a nutty, rich, and sweet butter that can be used beyond baked goods. While browning butter is extremely easy it does take a watchful eye so be sure to read the recipe card below.
Just a tip! If you want to have brown butter on hand but don’t want to go through all the trouble of cooking it for every recipe, brown butter can be made in advanced. Once done place in an ice cube tray in the freezer until frozen. Once frozen pop it out and store in a zip lock bag or airtight container
I love scallops, they are tender, sweet, and buttery, but damn are they expensive. Whether you opt to buy frozen or from behind a counter (there is a chance that the “fresh” scallops were once frozen) below are a few tips to do them justice.
Dry, dry, dry – Make sure they are absolutely dry before pan frying. Pat both sides with a paper towel to absorb any moisture, this will help get a good sear. Salt both sides (optional pepper) right before placing them in the pan.
Heat the pan – You want the pan to be HOT, almost scalding, but not hot enough that it starts to burn the oil or butter. I like to use oil since the smoke point is much higher than butter (300 degrees Fahrenheit vs 410 degrees Fahrenheit).
Don’t overcook! – Depending on the size, scallops only need to be cooked for 2-3 minutes on each side, which is why a super hot pan is essential to get a sear in that amount of time.
Never made risotto before? Or only know how to make it by constantly stirring? Below is my easy less intimidating approach to risotto.
Sauté the base – Add butter to a wide pot or pan on low heat. In this recipe we want to brown the butter, ie. cook it until it is smells sweet, nutty, and is brown in color, approx 5-7 minutes. This requires a lot of attention, walk away and your brown butter will become burnt butter. Once brown and nutty, sauté the garlic, shallots until soft and fragrant. Add the sage.
Toast the risotto – Add the dry not washed rice to the pan and toast it for 3-5 minutes until grains start to become translucent. I can not stress enough do not wash the rice beforehand, this will completely strip the rice of the starches it needs to make this dish super creamy.
Add wine or broth – If adding wine (optional in some recipes, suggested in this one) deglaze the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the alcohol cooks off. Have your broth in a sauce pan on the stove to stay warm. When you are ready add the broth, but not all at once! For every cup of risotto you need approx. 4 cups of broth. Have extra on hand! I found with different brands of arborio rice I needed + or – a cup. Depending on your pan this might be split into 3 or 4 rounds. My rule of thumb is to pour just enough broth to cover the risotto.
Mix, Add, Shake – Mix 2-3 times per broth add. If you end up mixing more, no biggie! Also give the pan a mix or a shake midway to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. Once the broth has mostly absorbed add more broth until all broth has been used.
Final Adds – In the last few minutes add the parm, mix and serve immediately. Risotto should be creamy, and loose. As it cools down it will start to tighten up. Still delicious, but best eaten right away.
Looking for more risotto recipes? I got a few, check out the below!