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Seared Scallops over Butternut Squash Risotto

Posted by Peggy on November 5, 2009

Seared Scallops over Butternut Squash Risotto
Recipe: Butternut Squash Risotto with Seared Scallops


  • 1 large (3 pound) butternut squash
  • 3 1/2-5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green part only, sliced and washed well
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter or Earth Balance
  • 1 cup arborio (risotto) rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, optional*
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives plus 8 extra chives stems for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed or canola oil
  • 12 dry-packed scallops


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚.
  2. Halve squash lengthwise and discard seeds. Peel one half and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place remaining half, cut side down,on an oiled shallow baking pan. Surround with diced squash. Lightly season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Bake on middle rack of oven, turning diced squash once, until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. Remove diced squash and reserve. Continue baking squash half until it is easily pricked with a fork, an additional 15- 20 minutes. Scoop out flesh and coarsely chop.
  4. Bring broth to a simmer.
  5. In a heavy-bottomed stockpot, sauté leeks in butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice and sauté, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine. Simmer and stir until wine is absorbed.
  6. Continue simmering and stirring and adding broth, about 1/4 cup at a time, adding more as liquid is absorbed, until half the broth has been added. Stir in coarsely chopped squash (reserving diced squash for later use) and continue simmering and adding broth as described until rice is creamy yet slightly firm to the bite, or to your palate.
  7. Add reserved diced squash and stir briefly until just heated through. Stir in Parmesan, if desired, chopped chives and season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover.
  8. As you are finishing your risotto, heat oil to medium high or high heat in large sauté pan. Gently pat scallops dry with paper towels and lightly season on one side with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. When oil is shimmering, sear the scallops until lightly browned on both sides and slightly translucent in the center.
  9. Divide risotto between 4 plates and top each plate with 3 scallops. Knot chives together (see photo) for garnishing and immediately serve.

*Some purists don't add cheese to Italian grain and seafood dishes, though many people enjoy the flavor profile with the addition of cheese.

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 4

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