Scallop Risotto

I had a spending splurge yesterday.  I bought something that was really, really, mindblowingly expensive.  And don’t tell my husband, but I would totally buy it again…but hopefully, I won’t have to for a while.  Any guesses?

Here’s what it wasn’t:  it wasn’t a fancy pocketbook or sports car or a timeshare in Hawaii or botox or a boob lift (sorry) or eyelash extensions.  That’s not to say that any of those things won’t eventually land on a shopping list at some point in my future….after all, a girl’s gotta dream right?

A hint:  the splurge happened at Sendiks (where else do I ever go) and it was an ingredient – but it wasn’t morels from the deep dark woods, or vanilla beans from Madagascar.

Give up?  All you cooks out there think very hard … but I’m sure if you’ve glanced at the photo, you’ve guessed by now.

Saffron.  At almost 15.00 for the teensy weensiest little package you’ve ever seen – smaller than a teaspoon of rice, it’s definitely the most expensive spice you can possibly buy.  I bit the bullet and threw it in my cart.  And I passed up a bottle of wine to make up for the cost.

It was worth it.  But I totally understand if you don’t feel like dropping that kind of coin to make this dish.  So I did a little research, and while there is no replacement for the actual flavor of saffron (I would describe it as a little earthy and slightly bitter?), you could swap in a pinch of turmeric to help achieve a yellow similar to the photo above.



2 c. fat free chicken broth
1 – 8 oz. bottle clam juice
2 t. butter
1/4 c. chopped shallots
1/2 c. uncooked Arborio rice
1/8 t. saffron threads, crushed
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. grape tomatoes, halved (Organic grape tomatoes are on sale)
8 oz. bay scallops (Wild Caught Natural Bay Scallops are on sale; *see note*)
2 T. whipping cream
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Bring broth and clam juice to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil).  Keep warm over low heat.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallots to pan; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.  Add rice and saffron to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add lemon juice to pan; cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly.  Stir in 1/2 cup hot broth mixture; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.  Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next, about 18 minutes total.

Stir in tomatoes; cook 1 minute.  Stir in scallops; cook for 4 minutes or until they are opaque, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat; stir in cream.  Sprinkle with parsley if desired; serve in shallow pasta bowls.

**NOTE** The original recipe called for 4 ounces each of both peeled and deveined medium shrimp AND scallops.  There aren’t any shrimp on sale this week, so I decided to toss in all scallops.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | March 31st, 2011