Asparagus risotto with scallops
Asparagus and scallops make one of the finest pairings of land and sea. The scallops seem sweeter teamed with the grassy, earthy flavour of asparagus, as in this risotto.
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Photo: Jennifer Soo
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 350g risotto rice, unwashed
- 1 onion, halved and finely sliced
- 1.2L chicken or vegetable stock
- 150mL white wine
- 500g asparagus
- Ground nutmeg
- Sea salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan
- 1 extra tbsp olive oil
- 8 sea scallops, trimmed
- 1 tbsp grated
- lemon rind
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy saucepan and cook the onion for 10 minutes until soft, but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat well. Add the wine and stir well as it bubbles and reduces in volume by half.
Start adding the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring, over medium heat. Add more stock to keep the rice wet, but allow it to slowly absorb the liquid, and cook in the heat of the liquid. If you run out of stock, add water.
In the meantime, snap off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus and finely chop all but four of them. Cook the chopped and whole asparagus in simmering, salted water for 4 minutes.
Drain and cool under cold running water.
When the rice is just cooked, add the drained chopped asparagus, nutmeg, salt and pepper and fold through. Beat in the butter and cheese, cover and rest off the heat. Heat the remaining olive oil and sear the scallops for 3 minutes on one side and briefly on the other. Divide the risotto between four warm dinner plates and arrange the scallops and whole asparagus on top and scatter with sea salt, pepper and grated lemon rind.