Wednesday, November 14, 2012

pumpkin risotto with vanilla scallops

Pumpkin Pumpkin Pumpkin. If you are on Pinterest, you know that PUMPKIN IS THE ONLY INGREDIENT THAT MATTERS. I like pumpkin, I do, but for Pilgrims' sakes, calm down, people! The explosion of these recipes wormed it's way into my brain. I had to get it out of my system. 

While checking out a recipe for Pumpkin Lasagna recipe at a Schnucks Cooks station, the cook mentioned to me that scallops go great with pumpkin. I would have never put those two together, but I was really intrigued by the idea. It also occurred to me that this was my chance to jump onto the vanilla with shellfish trend I've noticed in restaurants. A wonderful trend... so odd yet so genius. It seems a wee bit of vanilla elevates shrimp and scallops and lobster to a whole new taste shelf. And there's vanilla in most pumpkin recipes. So I made this. I ate it alone, but I am positive this meal would have gotten me some action FAST. This was one sexy meal. *purrr*

I paired it with a salad consisting of all the best autumn has to offer... kale, pears, figs, fennel... Fall-icious! 

Pumpkin Risotto with Vanilla Scallops  
-8 cups chicken stock
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon cardamom
-1 Tablespoon butter
-small yellow onion, finely diced
-2 shallots, finely diced
-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-2 cups aborio rice
-1/2 can pumpkin puree (about 1 cup)
-1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
-about 1 cup cream
-salt and pepper 
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-1/2 cup white wine vinegar
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-4 large scallops or a dozen bay scallops
-1/2 Tablespoon butter  
 Heat the stock and spices in a pot. In another pot, cook the onion, shallots and garlic in the butter until soft and translucent. Add the rice and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the stock and stir. Bring to a simmer, and stir regularly. When the broth is absorbed, add another cup of broth, continuing to stir. Continue adding small amounts of stock to the rice until the rice is cooked al dente. Add the pumpkin, cheese and cream and remove from heat. Season to taste.   
Meanwhile, marinate the scallops in the wine, vinegar and vanilla for about 20 minutes (the time it takes to cook the risotto). Drain well, then cook the scallops in about 1/2 Tablespoon of butter in a skillet until well-seared and cooked through (5 minutes or less). Serve on top of pumpkin risotto. 

Fall-icious Kale Salad 
-3 or 4 Kale leaves, sliced into thin shreds.
-1 red pear, chopped
-1 small fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced
-1/4 cup olive oil
-juice of 1 lemon
-1 spoonful fig preserves
-splash of balsamic vinegar
-pecans, a handful 
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, or with a whisk and a bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, fig preserves and vinegar until blended. Toss the rest of the ingredients in the dressing and serve.
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