Risotto and Scallops

My challenge Sunday night was to make a meal using leftover ingredients from the weekend.  Here’s what I had in my fridge:  1/4 bottle of champagne, 2 pieces of turkey bacon and chopped shallots.  I had a package of Arborio rice in the pantry and bay scallops that looked so good in the store that I had to plan a meal around them.  I did some recipe research and found a champagne risotto & scallop recipe on Epicurious, and make some tweaks to come up with this quick and tasty recipe.  Champagne adds a wonderful layer of flavor to the dish, bacon (regular or turkey) adds a salty bite and crisp texture, and caramelized shallots add sweetness to balance the dish.  I like to quickly sear the scallops to give them a nice crust, which is a lovely contrast to the creamy center of bay scallops. This recipe requires very little prep and comes together in about 30 minutes.  It’s a one dish meal, but a side of roasted vegetables, such as brussel sprouts or asparagus, would made a great addition.

Champagne & Bacon Risotto with Seared Bay Scallops

2 Tbs. butter

2 slices bacon (regular or turkey), chopped

¼ cup shallots (1 medium), chopped

2/3 cup Arborio rice or other short-grain rice

1 cup dry Champagne

1-2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock

½ lb. bay scallops (tough muscle removed)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1.                        Melt butter in cast iron pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add bacon and cook until slightly crisp, about 4 minutes.  Add shallots, sauté until soft and slightly brown, about 3 minutes.  Add rice to pot, sauté 2 minutes. Add Champagne and stir until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup stock; simmer, stirring frequently, until rice is al dente (about 10 minutes).  Add additional stock or hot water, 1/2 cup at a time, if liquid has evaporated and rice is still not cooked.  Rice should be slightly tender with a little bite, and mixture should be creamy.

2.                        Heat nonstick pan coated with olive oil over high heat.  Rinse scallops and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add scallops to pan and cook 1 minute, or until a golden crust forms on the bottom of each scallop.  Using tongs, flip each scallop and cook an additional minute on other side, or until mostly opaque.  Serve immediately over risotto. Top with Parmesan cheese, if using.

Serves 2