You know when they ask a beauty queen what their idea of a perfect date is and they respond with “a candle lit dinner followed by a moonlit walk on a beach,”… well I’m sorry to say they have it all wrong.
For me the perfect date night is one where my husband and I are tag team cooking dinner in our kitchen with our favorite music blasting, spontaneous dancing between chopping and dicing all while I enjoy an ice cold glass of white wine while he sips on his favorite beer. While our NYE date night was one of our best dinners ever this one, despite being simpler, totally topped it.
It took us about an hour but this risotto and scallops dish will definitely be something we make again. Since we cooked this on Valentine’s Day I used our heart mold that we used for our breakfast party last year to shape the risotto.
Risotto Recipe (Serving Size 2)
- 2 cups chicken broth, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 5 ounces portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 5 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot diced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon butter
- 1/2 cup Arborio rice
- 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon and 2-1/4 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Directions (NOTE: Recipe directions are for the original serving size of 6)
- In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
- Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Scallops Recipe (Serving Size 2)
- 1 pound sea scallops
- 2 tablespoons clarified butter, divided (use unsalted if you have not made clarified)
- 1 tablespoon good quality light oil such as canola or grape seed oil
- 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
- ¼ cup vermouth or a very dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Few grinds freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- Prepare the scallops by removing and discarding the hard little muscle that is attached to the side of the scallop. Sometimes that is removed before sale, most of the time not. Rinse the scallops gently under very cold water and pat dry completely with paper towels. If they are not dry, they will not brown.
- Prepare all ingredients and set aside.
- In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of clarified butter and the oil over hot heat until it just starts to reach the smoking point. If you are using clarified butter it may not smoke so test with a drop of water.
- Once the pan and fat are hot, gently place each scallop in, making sure they don’t touch. Do not overcrowd the pan. The heat should be at about medium high to high. Once you set the scallops in, do not touch for two minutes. They must remain in one place so they brown. If you think they are browning too quickly, lift one and check. They should be golden in color. Adjust heat slightly if needed.
- Turn each one and again do not touch for two minutes. As they cook on the other side, you can see the center start to turn from a slightly off white color to white. If they are not uniform, you may want to remove the smaller ones first. Once cooked, remove all of them to a plate and lower heat to medium.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of clarified butter and the shallots and cook for about one minute then add vermouth. Stir to loosen up brown bits from the pan and reduce the vermouth by half.
- Add the parsley, chives, zest, salt and pepper and stir.
- When the sauce has started to bubble, add the cold butter one tablespoon at a time and stir to make the pan sauce.
- Add the scallops back in along with any liquid from the dish and just turn them around in the sauce to bring them back up to temperature and to coat them.
- Remove immediately from the heat and serve with the pan sauce over the scallops.