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Last night, my mom and I made my absolute favorite dinner: Pan seared panko scallops, risotto and a colorful salad.

Risotto has been my favorite meal to make for years. Last night, I chose to try the Barefoot Contessa Spring Risotto recipe I found on the Food Network. Instead of adding butter right before serving to make the consistency creamy and delicious, Ina Garten uses mascarpone cheese. The second I read that in her recipe, I knew that was a brilliant idea.

We started the risotto by sauteing leeks and fennel in both olive oil and butter until tender.

Then we added the arborio and dry white wine into the leek and fennel mixture, stirring until the wine was almost completely absorbed. Then comes the tedious part… we added the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, waited until it dissolved, and repeated the process for 25-30 minutes.

After 15 minutes, we added the pea and asparagus. When the risotto was finished, we folded the lemon juice and mascarpone into the dish and topped it with lemon zest and chives.

In the midst of cooking the risotto, we pan seared the scallops. Before coating with panko breadcrumbs, we gave them a flour and egg bath to help hold the panko. We pan seared them until golden brown and finished them in the oven.

To complete the dinner, we put together a fresh salad with romaine, avocado, crumbled roquefort cheese, tomato and croutons with a homemade vinaigrette.

This is the perfect Sunday night dinner and can be a blast to prepare with friends or family. Enjoy!

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