Lemon butter scallops over risotto have become one of our new favorite fancy weeknight meals. It’s a tad more involved than your typical 20-minute dinner because the risotto requires a little extra attention, however, you should NOT be intimidated to undertake risotto
Risotto isn’t difficult to make—it’s just more finicky than cooking rice. Pay attention to what you’re doing. No leaving the kitchen to do laundry or falling asleep on the couch while preparing risotto. This is CRITICAL.
Scallops over risotto is a delicious and hearty, yet simple celebration meal. I started off by using my lemon butter scallops recipe and paired with my absolute favorite complementary risotto recipe. The caramelized lemon butter scallops are the perfect addition to the creamy and savory characteristics of risotto.
The Best Risotto Recipe
This recipe is really all about the risotto. The scallops need to be just right, but the risotto carries the recipe. My favorite risotto recipe is made with shallots, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and a little white wine. It’s cheesy, creamy, garlicky and fresh.
Tips for Making Perfect Risotto
- The biggest tip on risotto, use a solid non-stick pan. Cast iron may not be the best choice as the risotto will stick and burn the pan easily.
- Always use warm/hot stock. Cold broth/stock will delay the cooking process each time you add it. Warm broth keeps risotto warm and sizzling.
- Don’t rush the process or let the broth/stock run dry. Dry risotto in the pan isn’t cooking. Conversely adding too much stock at once will just boil the risotto. You want just enough water to release the risotto’s starches and make it creamy.
- Cook on medium heat. You want a continuous low simmer the entire time. Too low and the risotto will never cook!
- Always add cheese, cream, and herbs at the end. You don’t want to interfere with the cooking process.
Prep is another really important factor. This recipe has a few synchronized moving parts so laying out all your ingredients beforehand in prep bowls cuts down on stress and the frantic panic of zooming from your stove to the fridge. Am I the only one who does this?
The perfect scallop has a tender inside with a caramelized edge. If you use too much butter or oil, you won’t get a viable sear. It’s best to start with a hot pan and sear on each side, and then add butter, citrus, and herbs to finish cooking and flavorize.
While risotto is certainly a fancy addition to any date night, it’s easy enough to nail if you take your time and also don’t have Gordon Ramsay and his camera crew breathing down your neck.
More Scallop Recipes You’ll LovePrint
Simple lemon butter scallops served over my favorite risotto recipe made with shallots, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and a little white wine.
- 8 large sea scallops, side muscle removed
- 4–5 cups of warm chicken broth (I prefer low sodium) see note below
- 3/4 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/3 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 garlic clove minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
lemon butter sauce
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- juice of half a lemon, squeezed
For the risotto
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic. Simmer until softened, 1-2 minutes.
- Add risotto and stir for 1 minute. Add the white wine and simmer for an additional minute. Add warm chicken broth to the pan ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Allow risotto to absorb most of the broth before each addition. Continue until soft and creamy, about 25-30 minutes. Note, the chicken broth will absorb in about 1-2 minutes after each addition.
- Season with salt and pepper and stir in Parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley. Divide and transfer to bowls when ready to serve.
For the scallops
- While risotto is cooking, pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Mince the parsley and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (affiliate link) to a 12 inch cast iron skillet and bring to high heat.
- Once skillet is hot, add the scallops to the pan and sear for 2 minutes per side or until golden brown on the top and bottom.
- Remove scallops from the skillet and set on a plate. Add the butter, lemon and fresh parsley to the skillet, stirring occasionally until fully melted.
- Return the scallops to the skillet and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes per side. Divide scallops and serve over risotto in a bowl and drizzle with extra lemon butter sauce as desired. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Make 5 cups of chicken broth and heat up in microwave so it’s warm (you may only use 4 cups, check for tenderness after 4 cups). Warm broth is critical to properly cooking risotto. Room temp will unnessecarily cool down pan/risotto.
Keywords: scallop risotto, parmesan risotto recipe