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Basil Pesto Risotto with Pan-Roasted Scallops

Rated as 4 out of 5 Stars

"Fine dining does not have to be complicated and with this creamy risotto you will see why. This is an amazing dish that will have your guests or family wanting to see your culinary degree."
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1 h servings 1046
Original recipe yields 2 servings


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  1. Place basil, spinach, and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to chop. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil in a steady stream until pesto is creamy, stopping to scrape down sides. Stir in 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese and black pepper with a spoon.
  2. Heat chicken stock and water in separate saucepans over medium heat until simmering, about 5 minutes; reduce heat, cover, and keep warm.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Add shallots; cook and stir until soft, about 5 minutes. Add rice and saffron; stir until coated with butter. Pour in wine and simmer until absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour enough warm stock into the saucepan to barely cover the rice; cook and stir until absorbed. Continue adding stock, and then water, stirring constantly, until each addition is absorbed and rice is tender yet firm to the bite and risotto is thick and creamy, about 20 minutes.
  5. Spoon pesto into risotto. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.
  6. Pat scallops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Arrange scallops in the hot skillet and cook, without touching, until deep golden brown underneath, about 2 minutes. Flip each scallop and sear on the second side until golden brown, about 2 minutes more.
  8. Serve scallops over risotto.


  • Cook's Notes:
  • Substitute arugula for the spinach for a more peppery taste in the pesto if desired. Substitute pistachios for the pine nuts if preferred.
  • Add 4 to 5 pimento peppers marinated in olive oil, centers removed, to the pesto if desired.
  • Remove scallops from the refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes before cooking to drain out excess water.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 1046 calories; 57.8 92.8 33.4 110 1475 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 3
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I didn't have shallots, so I used garlic and onion. Also used prosecco. It was yummy! I will definitely make it again. It was a big hit!!!

We followed the recipe, except for using 3 cups of chicken stock instead of 2 with 1 cup of water. Loved it! Will make again. Thanks for sharing.

The recipe instructions call for water, but the amount isn't shown in the ingredient list. I guessed and used 2/3 cup, but the risotto was too chewy.