Monday, November 9, 2009

Pan Seared Scallops with Pumpkin Risotto and Sage Infused Brown Butter

Man, that's a crap photo... At any rate, I've been getting a lot of second hand produce lately from my girlfriend, who's having some trouble absorbing the bounty of her CSA. Recently sugar pumpkins have been factoring heavily into the mix, and having made my way through several of them last weekend by making a pumpkin pie, I decided to use up the rest and have Laura over for some pumpkin risotto (anybody out there like borscht, by the way? I've got like 37 beets...). No risotto ever suffered from the addition of brown butter, and brown butter, of course, attracts scallops, so I had my work cut out for me. Perhaps you'd care to follow along...


Diver or Sea Scallops, two per person
One sugar pumpkin, about six inches in diameter
Two medium shallots (or one really large one), minced
Three cloves of garlic, minced
One cup of Arborio rice
One stick of butter (8 Tbsp)
Two Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
One cup of dry white wine (Pinot Gris or Chenin Blanc work well)
Four cups of chicken stock, kept warm on a burner
One cup of grated Parmesan, Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Two Tbsp of chopped scallions (garlic scapes or chives also work)
One handful of good sized sage leaves
One pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper


First, you're going to brown the butter. Place six tablespoons in a fry pan over medium heat:

Once it's melted, turn the heat down to medium low and add the sage leaves. The milk solids in the butter will sink to the bottom of the pan and begin to brown. When they've achieved a medium brown color, remove the sage (reserve it for garnish), transfer the brown butter to a bowl and place it in the fridge. You'll know it's time when you see this:

Next, cut your pumpkin in half, peel it and cut it into about 1/4 inch dice. Steam half of the pumpkin for about 20 min and puree it in a blender or food processor, or with an immersion blender. Reserve the other half.

Place three tablespoons of the brown butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute the shallot and reserved pumpkin dice for a few minutes, then add the garlic and the rice:

Continue to saute for five minutes and add the wine and one cup of the chicken stock. Turn heat down to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring frequently and adding stock, a little at a time as the rice absorbs the liquid, until the rice is al dente (about 40 minutes). Be careful not to let the rice get too dry until it's cooked, at which point you can reduce down any excess liquid. Until then, you want to keep it looking more or less like this:

When the rice is almost cooked, add the pumpkin puree, nutmeg, scallions and cheese and start to work on the scallops.

Melt and/or warm the remaining brown butter in a sauce pan over low heat (if you want to get fancy with it, you can whisk in a tablespoon or two of the wine and a little bit of minced shallot, which will get you a sort of sage-infused, browned beurre blanc, but you'll need to multi-task or enlist some help, as this mixture needs to be whisked constantly while you're cooking the scallops). Place the remaining two tablespoons of unbrowned butter and the oil in a fry pan over medium high heat. Yes, you CAN saute with extra virgin olive oil, just don't turn the flame up all the way... When the oil and butter are hot, but not smoking, add the scallops, seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper, to the pan. Saute them for two minutes on each side. Plate them with the risotto, and drizzle the brown butter over the scallops or around the edge of the plate. Garnish with the fried sage and enjoy!


Anonymous said...

I got tired and gained 3 pounds just reading! Did it taste as good as I think it did? LGS

Laura said...

The photo absolutely did NOT do it justice (I was handed a fork right after the photo was taken so, sorry, there was no time for a second photo.) It was divine. Just the right amount of sweetness to go with the scallops and the combination of the pumpkin and the cheese was perfect. I felt pampered.