Friday, March 14, 2014

Rosie Makes Youngest Hawthorne's Favorite Meal.

Youngest Hawthorne and Junior were home
last week for spring(?) break 
and I'm making his all-time favorite meal.
It's seared scallops atop a Parmesan crisp
 on a bed of spinach and sundried tomato risotto
topped with caramelized onions and pesto.

For the Parmesan crisps,
simply grate Parmesan cheese 
and scoop out about 1/4 cup for each round.
Bake in a 400° oven until bubbly and lightly browned,
about 8 minutes.
Please watch carefully, so you don't burn them.

Let drain on paper towels.

On to the risotto ...
You'll need:
1/2 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4-5 sun-dried tomato pieces
1/2 bag fresh spinach
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream

Cover the sun-dried tomatoes
in boiling water and let soften 15 minutes.

Heat one tablespoon each
olive oil and unsalted butter.
Add in 1/2 cup of arborio rice.
Cook and stir for a minute or so.
You want the rice to release a nutty aroma
but not to turn brown.

Have your chicken broth heated
and add in 1/4 cup hot broth at a time to the rice, 
stirring, over low heat,
and let the rice fully absorb the liquid.

Continue adding ladlefuls of hot stock,
stirring until the liquid gets absorbed.

You'll notice as the rice cooks, 
it will take on a creamy consistency
as it begins to release its natural starches.

In the meantime, I started on my caramelized onions.
Thinly slice an onion
and sauté in unsalted butter.
I like to add in a sprinkling of sugar to 
aid in the caramelization.
Give it a pinch of salt.
Cook over medium low heat until onions begin to brown.
Keep warm.

Now, back to the risotto.
Taste test.
You want tender grains, but still firm to the bite.
Takes about 30 minutes.
If you run out of stock,
simply add water, a ladleful at a time, 
stirring until absorbed.
A properly cooked risotto should form
a soft, creamy mound on your plate.
It shouldn't run or be stiff or gluey.
Add in the sun-dried tomatoes.

Coarse chop the spinach and ...

... add to the risotto. 
Let the spinach wilt.

Stir in the cream and ...
... the Parmesan.
Set aside and keep warm.

Now, for the scallops.
Rinse scallops and pat completely dry.

I season with freshly cracked pepper.
Doesn't need salt.
Heat a heavy skillet
and add about 2 TB each unsalted butter and oil.

Sear the scallops over medium high heat.
When you put the scallops in the pan,
leave them alone.
Don't try to push them around.
You'll tear them.
Wait until they naturally release themselves from the pan
to turn them over.
About 2 minutes each side.

I like to add in a splash of white wine at the end,
for de-glazing and extra flavor.

To serve,
mound risotto on your plate,
top with a Parmesan crisp,
and add scallops, caramelized onions, and pesto.

It doesn't get much better than this.

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