Delicate sweet scallops, creamy warm risotto and a pop of lemon? Made in just 40 minutes? Using just ONE pan??? This lemon scallop risotto recipe promises all of that and more. Let's get cooking!
This is a sponsored post in partnership with West Coast Wild Scallops and Buy BC. All opinions and ideas are my own though.
This project is supported by the BC Government’s Buy BC Partnership Program;
delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC with funding from the
Government of British Columbia. The Government of British Columbia is committed to working with industry partners.
Opinions expressed in this document are those of myself, Sabrina Currie and not necessarily
those of the Government of British Columbia or the Investment Agriculture Foundation
This Italian style lemon scallop risotto is light and delicious in summer and equally at home as a warm bowl of comfort in the winter. This is a special dish that would make a lovely Christmas eve seafood dinner or a beautiful dish for a pink themed bridal shower.
This dish was inspired by the popularity of my other Italian scallop recipe, Scallops Vongole, and pairs well with this crisp Apple Fennel salad. If you'd like some warm bread with your scallop risotto, try my fast No-Knead Rosemary Bread recipe too!
Canadian Scallops - An Ocean Wise Partner
I paired up with Canadian company, West Coast Wild Scallops to develop this swimming scallop recipe. I am so happy to work with this family run company. These guys fish certified Ocean Wise species and freeze them at sea the same day they are caught. This makes their swimming scallops the best on the market.
Head over to their West Coast Wild Scallops site, to see where you can find some and read about their innovative fishery! And for more recipes using West Coast Wild Scallops, try Scallop Fried Rice and Scallop and Bacon Pasta, a west coast riff on pasta carbonara.
Scallops and risotto are a natural pairing. Lemon scallop risotto only uses a few simple pantry ingredients to create this special dish. AND it's easy enough to make any night of the week.
- Swimming scallops - these delicate pink shelled Canadian scallops are fished by West Coast Wild Scallops and are excellent cooked in the shell just like clams and mussels.
- Lemon zest - the key to the distinct lemon flavor without too much acid is in the zest. A fresh lemon is key to this risotto recipe.
- Parmesan - I have chosen to make this as a traditional risotto and that means using the original Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
- Arborio rice - using a short grain rice such as the classic Italian arborio rice is essential to getting a nice creamy texture. In a pinch you could use another type of short grain rice like sushi rice but don't use a long grain rice or you will be disappointed.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Gather your ingredients and set your stock on medium low so it remains at a simmer while you make your lemon risotto and scallops.
2. Zest your lemon using a micro planer or the small side of a box grater. Be careful to avoid grating the white pith as it is too bitter. Once you have zested your lemon, cut it in half and squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice out for the recipe.
3. Sauté the white part of scallions and garlic, then add rice and stir through.
4. Continuously stir and add ladles of hot stock to the rice, repeating until the rice is cooked but not mushy. Al dente or "firm to the bite" is the goal. (If you run out of stock before it is finished, add hot water until it is done.)
Once it is cooked, add in remaining herbs, lemon zest and parmesan. Stir and season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
5. Immediately add in scallops, stir to even them out around the pan and top with a lid. Cook 4 minutes and remove from heat, leaving lid on for 2 more minutes.
6. Remove lid and serve lemon scallop risotto immediately. Garnish with extra parmesan, ground pepper and parsley if you like.
-Try not to overcook the scallops. These delicate pink scallops suffer from being overcooked. They only need a few minutes of heat before they are done. They are sushi grade scallops and can even be eaten raw so err on the side of undercooked rather than overcooked.
-Keep your chicken or veggie stock in pot simmering right beside your risotto pan. This prevents spills and having your stock hot when you add it will help your risotto cook much faster than adding cold stock.
-Lemon zest is the real key to the intense lemon flavor without making the risotto too tart. If you don’t have a microplane zester, try the smallest holes on a box grater. Grate just the outer yellow part, avoid grating the white pith as it is quite bitter.
-As the scallop risotto sits, it will continue to thicken so this will have the best creamy texture right away. If you need to reheat it, you will likely need to add a little more liquid (stock or water) to keep it a creamy consistency.
There are a few substitutions you can make if needed.
- Butter - olive oil or even vegetable oil in a pinch, will work just fine.
- Parmesan cheese - grana padano is quite similar or try pecorino which is a sheep's milk cheese and thus a little tangier. Other cheeses can be substituted but they will change the flavor significantly, though if they will melt, they should work. Only use a cheese that you like the flavor of.
- Chicken stock - veggie or seafood stock both work equally. Use what you have or prefer.
Loved it and want to try a variation? Here's a few ideas that I have tried and liked.
- Spicy Italiano- add ½ teaspoon chili pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon anise seed at step 2 when you are adding the garlic.
- Green - stir in some fresh spinach, arugula or kale right after the parmesan.
- Scallops out of their shell - Steam the scallops until just cooked and using a knife or a half of the shell, scoop out the scallop meat. Stir the shucked scallops in after the parmesan, remove from heat and serve right away.
Cover and refrigerate leftover lemon scallop risotto and it will keep up to 2 days. Seafood is more perishable than chicken or meat so 2 days is the longest you should keep it. Reheat in pan or microwave, adding liquid as necessary to keep the creamy consistency.
This recipe doesn't reheat well if frozen after cooking so I do not recommend freezing.
Pink and spiny scallops are the only scallops fished in BC. These are fished sustainably and certified Ocean Wise. Any other species grown here are farmed.
West Coast Wild Scallops are generally fished in the colder months of fall through spring (September through April) but are available all year round! Because they are frozen at sea and kept in special cold storage at an extremely low temperature, they are available year round.
My last tip is wine 🙂 Traditional risotto has vermouth or dry, unoaked white wine added before the stock. Feel free to add a ¼ cup of either after you add the rice. Stir and let the alcohol evaporate before then carrying on to add the stock. Be sure to pour yourself a glass and enjoy the 20 minutes of meditative stirring and cooking. (I love a good sauvignon blanc or an unoaked chardonnay with this.)
Have a wonderful and delicious day,
Lemon Scallop Risotto
- 3 tablespoon Butter
- 1 c Scallions one bunch of green onions, white parts used to sauté at beginning, green parts to garnish at the end.
- 2 cloves Garlic peeled and minced
- 1 Lemon zested and then juiced.
- 1 ½ c Arborio rice
- 4 c Chicken stock
- 1 c Grated Parmesan 4-6 oz
- 2 lb Swimming scallops keep frozen until ready to cook and quickly rinse off excess sea water glaze right before adding to pan. 2 lb's is about 4 cups
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ½ c Parsley finely chopped
- Place stock in a pot on the stove and heat to a simmer. Keep it at a low simmer throughout making the risotto.
- Using a large saucepan that has a lid, heat butter on low heat and add the sliced white parts of green onions and minced garlic. Sauté until translucent and then add rice, stirring until grains are lightly coated with butter. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, stir and continue to next steps with heat on low.
- Using a ladle, add 1-2 scoops of hot stock to rice and stir through. Stir frequently until liquid is absorbed before adding more stock. Continue stirring and adding stock for about 15-20 minutes and then taste to test if rice is cooked. If not, continue adding stock and stirring until it is al dente (firm but fully cooked). If you run out of stock while cooking, you can use hot water to finish.
- Now add in lemon zest, parmesan, remaining green onions and parsley, stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. The risotto should be fairly loose at this point, if it is firming up, add another ladle full of stock and stir.
- Immediately add scallops, stir one more time and cover with a lid. Let cook 3-4 minutes on low heat and then remove from heat. Keep covered and let sit off the heat for 2 more minutes before uncovering and serving.
- Garnish with extra grated parmesan, freshly ground pepper and chopped parsley if desired.