Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole -- Scallop Bacon Risotto

So, remember that blizzard that rocked the Northeast a couple weeks ago? The one I was right smack dab in the middle of? This is what I made for dinner that night.

I figured even if the power did go out, the stove part of my oven would still work, being gas and all (oven itself would be out, that part is electric for whatever reason) and that the dish would be that much better in candle light anyway. The power never went out, we didn't get a monster-load of snow, just a bit over a foot, and I got to leave work early anyway. Not bad.

Also, this risotto was pretty bomb. The local grocery store sold the scallops at a steep discount because they assumed they'd be closed during the storm, so I really lucked out here. I even pared the meal with steaks marinaded in a homemade marinade, making this a real surf n' turf dinner.

The Cast of Alice in Wonderland!

Thankfully, the storm didn't interfere with my play. We had a great opening weekend and one more weekend to go! I will be very sad when the play is over. If you live in the Western Mass/Southern VT/NH area and want to attend, email me for details!

I remember one play I was in--actually, my most hated theater experience to this date!--where we were snowed out and had to re-schedule the play for months later. Not fun! With all the work that everyone has put into this production, it would have been horrible to put it on hold.

This photo courtesy of NRP

My favorite part is when we interact with the audience after the play--the little kids call me Alice and ask me questions about Wonderland. It's so adorable!

 My roommate played the White Queen...

But she also made my dress and a handful of other costumes! Like the caterpillar.

I feel like I say this with every play I'm in but, this might be the most fun I've ever had on stage! Despite the stress of having to memorize so many lines.

Oh, and if you REALLY want a laugh... check out the youtube promo video we made, with certain characters doing a trendy dance of some sort... The Harlem Shake I guess?

Anyways, onto the recipe!

Bacon Scallop Risotto
(Basic risotto recipe from here, additions and changes are my own)

  • 1 package of bacon, diced
  • 1 cup bay scallops, rinsed
  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt, to taste

*Most risotto recipes require you to heat the stock first--I am too lazy and have yet to do this. It comes out just fine and Pioneer Woman backs me up on this.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook the diced bacon to desired crispiness. Transfer to a plate and set aside, leaving as much bacon grease in the pan as possible. Raise the heat, and sear scallops on both sides, until scallops are opaque and have a bit of a crust on either side. Set aside and keep warm (I kept both bacon and scallops warm in the oven on a very low setting).

Using a bit of oil and butter, in a separate pan cook half the onion over low heat to caramelize. You may add a sprinkling of sugar to speed up the process. Let them cook while you complete the rest of the steps, checking often to prevent burning. Once the onions are caramelized, set aside. Use the same pan to wilt the spinach, using a bit of butter and oil and also set aside.

Wipe down the saucepan of any scallop juices but do not rinse. Add the the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat, deglazing the pan. When the butter has melted, add the other half of the onion and cook until translucent.

Add the rice to the pot and stir so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so, but don't let the rice turn brown. Add the wine and cook while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add a ladle of stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat until rice is desired consistency. If you run out of stock before the rice is soft and creamy, water or more wine can be used.

Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, the Parmesan cheese and the parsley, and season to taste with salt. Add the bacon, scallops, caramelized onions, and spinach. You may mix all together or plate it in layers as I've done here.

*I originally wanted Gorgonzola instead of Parm cheese, but I had none left. I imagine it'd taste fantastic with Gorgonzola.


  1. Glad you survived the storm and that your play is going so well! Thanks for sharing the pictures of it. And genius idea for this meal right before the storm. It looks delicious.

  2. Love all the photos and glad to hear you made it through the storm safely! :)

  3. Love the pictures of the play! Glad that's going well :) Looooove risotto and scallops (but they're pretty pricey, jealous of the deal you got on them!)

  4. Wow, this looks like the perfect snowy evening dinner!! I'm pretty sure risotto, scallops, and bacon are three of the best things in the world!


  5. YES on your play! I wish I could have gone up to MA to see it!!

    Oh and the risotto - glorious stuff.

  6. Love the photos of the play - looks like so much fun. I adore risotto, I especially love it with bacon. Well done.