Enjoy seared scallops on corn and chorizo risotto

By Gretchen Mckay
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It finally is starting to feel like fall. My lawn is beginning to be scattered with leaves, and while I still have some flowers and vegetables growing, many more have been pulled out and tossed onto the mulch pile.

Maybe it’s time to move from the grill to the stove and make something a little heartier for dinner like an awesome seafood risotto. Flavored with bits of chopped chorizo and corn,  it’s a great way to welcome autumn to the dinner table.

I topped the risotto with seared sea scallops, but you could easily swap it out for shrimp, crab or mussels. You can find arborio rice — a plump, short-grain Italian rice that gets wonderfully creamy when liquid is absorbed — in most grocery stores.

The risotto can be served as a main dish with a salad and bread or as a side if the scallops are left out.

Garnish the risotto with some chopped parsley or basil for color as it’s a fairly monotone dish). No one would hold it against you if you also passed a bowl of Parmesan around to sprinkle on top.

Seared scallops on top of corn and chorizo risotto is an easy and satisfying fall dish. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)


12 sea scallops

6 cups chicken broth

8 tablespoons butter, divided

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 small shallots or 1 large, minced

3 ounces fresh chorizo sausage, casing removed, chopped

2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 ears)

1 cup arborio rice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided

¼ cup dry white wine

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Chopped parsley or shredded basil for garnish, optional

Rinse scallops under cool water and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove the side muscle if any are still attached; set aside.

Prepare risotto: Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Then lower heat to a simmer.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, sausage and corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir rice into skillet and season with a pinch of salt and grind of pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until rice is lightly toasted, about 4 minutes.

Pour wine into rice mixture and cook until almost evaporated, about 30 seconds.

Reduce heat to medium and pour a few ladlefuls of warm broth into the skillet. Cook, stirring gently, until broth is absorbed.

Continue to cook, adding a few more ladlefuls of broth at a time, making sure to stir until broth is absorbed before adding more. The risotto is done when the rice is just tender and the sauce is creamy, about 22 minutes.

When risotto has about 5 minutes more to cook, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a cast-iron or heavy skillet. Season scallops generously with salt. When the butter sizzles, add the scallops and sear without moving them, about 2 to 3 minutes per side depending on size and thickness. (You may want to cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.)

Remove risotto from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately with seared scallops on top and garnish with chopped parsley or shredded basil.

Serves 3 to 4.