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Prosecco Risotto with Seared Scallops for a 13 Year Old Young Man

The Kid requested risotto for his birthday and he wanted just a plain, straight forward risotto so I chose a risotto Milanese with peas. Instead of white wine, I used prosecco which gives a nice, sharp edge that I really liked. Milanese calls for saffron, the most expensive spice in the world - actually, if you are talking the cost per pound, it's more expensive than gold. Luckily, you only use a pinch so even though it's a splurge, it's not going to break the bank but it will set you back about $10 for a tiny box. Be forewarned that you will most likely have to ask for it because most shops keep it behind the desk so that people won't steal it. Never mind dealing drugs, the real money is in dealing saffron. We had a hard time finding it at regular grocery stores and although we found an actual little bag of it for 99 cents (which means it was probably dandelions dyed red) we kept looking until we found proper saffron at a nice cheese shop for $9 . If someone tries to sell you saffron for a dollar, it is most likely not saffron FYI. 

He also loves scallops and so do The Neighbours, so it made sense to sear some scallops to top the risotto. Because both the risotto and the scallops are rich and kind of filling, I only served 2 scallops per person and that appeared to be fine for us. You might want to do between 2 and 5 per person, depending on your guests.

If you buy really good quality arborio rice, make yourself some really nice, rich chicken stock, use prosecco and good quality cheese, and prepare yourself for about 15 minutes of constant stirring, you kind of can't screw this up unless you try really, really hard. Like so many things, it really does come down to using the best ingredients. 
Okay, except for the scallops - you need to get that pan smoking hot and you need to do exactly what I tell you or you will fry up little balls of really expensive rubber. Because I don't have a hood over my stove, I have to have all of my guests waiting on hand with tea towels to wave the smoke out all of the opened doors and windows but if the pan is not that hot, it's not worth it. 

Prosecco Risotto Milanese

serves 4-6 

2 tbls olive oil
2 tbls butter
1 onion, minced
2 1/2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup prosecco
4-5 cups chicken stock (homemade is great but you can use whatever you have)
1 tsp saffron (a pinch)
4-5 tbls butter
generous 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
fresh chives
truffle oil optional

Heat the chicken stock in a large pot on one of the back burners until it is barely simmering. Throw in the saffron and let that sit, not boiling, just staying nice and hot.

In a nice, deep skillet - at least 14", heat the olive oil and  2 tbls butter over medium until melted and sauté the onion until softened but not browned at all - maybe 7 to 10 minutes.
Add the rice and stir around until the rice is totally coated in the fat and translucent, another three or four minutes.
Add in 1/2 cup prosecco and stir around until the wine is pretty much absorbed and that is when you start adding in the stock. Continue to add a ladle full of stock, stir the rice until the stock is absorbed before you add the next ladle full, over and over until the rice is nice and creamy, al dente but clearly cooked. This usually takes between 15 and 18 minutes. I just start tasting at the 15 minute mark and stop as soon as it's where I want it. When it's absolutely almost where you want it, add the remaining 1/4 cup prosecco as your last liquid addition and stir again for a few more minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the 4 tbls of butter and the parmesan. Put a lid on the pan and set it aside while you cook the scallops.

3 big sea scallops per person
salt and pepper
1 tbls butter
1 tbls olive oil

I like to rinse and dry the scallops and put them on a plate, uncovered, in the fridge right before I start the risotto. This seems to really dry them so much more so you get a better sear on them.
Heat the butter and in a sauté pan over high heat and wait until it's really hot and almost smoking. Salt and pepper the scallops and add them to the pan, without crowding them - they should NOT be touching each other. Sear them for 1 1/2 minute on each side. Don't touch them until the 1 1/2 minute is up and don't touch them again until you remove them from the pan.

Ladle the risotto into warmed, shallow bowls and lay three seared scallops on top of each mound of rice. If you are using truffle oil, sprinkle just a touch over each portion.  Garnish with a couple of pieces of chive.

**Just a note to say that I have no idea why the first bit is screaming at you in annoying caps because I didn't write it that way and it doesn't look like that when I edit it but for some reason, bloodspot has decided that this recipe is so delicious that it wants to scream about it from the rooftops.

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