Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Scallops via Spoon Fork Bacon

This past summer I tried to learn how to cook; to cook in the easy-breezy I-just-whipped-this-up-but-no-big-deal kind of way and Martha Stewart was my guiding light throughout that process. I began reading several excellent foodie blogs which also helped; some of my favorites are Orangette, Smitten Kitchen, and my newest favorite, Spoon Fork Bacon. The photography is just stunning and makes me hungry every time I read a new post.

The other night I tried to make this fabulous Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops recipe:
Looks amazing right? So I gave it a whirl and this is what mine looked like. I'm thinking that my food photography skills need some tweaking but the meal was divine.
Dishes by Mud Australia via Finch Boutique
Pumpkin Risotto with Seared Scallops
Serves 6

pumpkin risotto:
1¼ cups pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch ground clove
¼ cup hot vegetable broth
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
4 to 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, softened
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
salt and pepper to taste
seared scallops:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more, if needed)
18 large scallops, cleaned
salt and pepper to taste
confetti candied pancetta:
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, micro diced (really small)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1. For the risotto: Stir together the first six ingredients for the risotto into a small pot and bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove mixture from the heat and pour into a blender with the broth, season with salt and pepper and blend.
3. With the motor running, add ¼ cup of butter into the blender, 1 tablespoon at a time. Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.
4. Pour the mixture into a bowl and set aside until ready to use.
5. Pour the chicken broth into a medium pot and warm over low heat.
6. Place a large pan over medium heat and melt the remaining butter and olive oil.
7. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes.
8. Add the rice and sauté for 3 to 5 minute or until each grain of rice is coated in oil and there is a white dot in the center of each grain.
9. Begin adding the warm broth to the rice, one ladle full at a time, stirring frequently.
10. Each time the liquid evaporates, add another ladle of broth and continue to stir.
11. Continue to add liquid and stir until the rice is al dente, 20-25 minutes.
12. Stir in the pumpkin puree until completely combined.
13. Stir in the mascarpone and parmesan until smooth. Fold in the thyme and season with salt and pepper.
14. For the scallops: Heat the oil in a heavy bottom skillet, over medium-high heat.
15. Season each scallop with salt and pepper.
16. Sear the scallops, in batches, for 3-4 minutes on each side.
17. For the candied confetti pancetta:: Heat the oil in a heavy bottom skillet, over medium high heat,
18. Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until the fat has rendered off and the pancetta has become crispy.
19. Drain all but 2 teaspoons of grease from the pan and return to the stove, over medium heat.
20. Sprinkle both sugars over the pancetta and stir until the sugar melts and had coated the pancetta.
21. Spread the candied confetti-pancetta onto a sheet pan lined with parchment and allow to cool and slightly harden.
22. To assemble: Fill six bowls with risotto and top each with three scallops; finish each bowl with a sprinkle of pancetta. Serve immediately.

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