- We pride ourselves on our ability to drink vast quantities of good (red) wine
- We are loud when provoked (or when not provoked)
- And we show our love for each other with food
I'd been toying with the idea for a sweet pea, ramp, bacon risotto ever since my friend Ashley and I had the amazing seasonal sweet pea, ramp, guanciale, parma pizza at Pizzeria Mozza in April, and the "thank you" dinner for my parents seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a test drive. My plans were somewhat hindered by my inability to find ramps at my dad's produce store, Whole Foods and some other rando grocers that I called, so I had to improvise with leeks and scallions instead. I also added seared scallops that I pan-fried in bacon fat, to beef up the meal into a full entree rather than just a baco-licious side dish. The end result was a restaurant-worthy, surprisingly light dish that more than proved to my parents that I actually do love them. Even when my dad opens a bottle of Chardonnay just to spite me (I do not feel kindly toward oaky whites).
Sweet Pea, Leek, Bacon Risotto w/ Seared Scallops
Makes 3 generous portions (we are the hungry sort)
1 pound large sea scallops
1 cup leeks, chopped
2 scallions (green ends only), coarsely chopped
6 strips center-cut bacon (I used Oscar Meyer's)
1 cup fresh peas, shelled and steamed until just tender
1 cup risotto
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup wine
Salt, pepper to taste
Chives to garnish
Combine white wine and chicken broth in a saucepan and slowly bring to a slow boil.
Meanwhile, heat a heavy pan over medium heat and saute rice in a little olive oil until the edges of the rice turn translucent. Add some of the hot chicken broth/white wine mixture and season with pepper to taste.
While the rice cooks, warm a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat and add 3 strips of chopped up bacon to the pan. Cook until the bacon starts to crisp and release its fat, and then add the leeks. Season with salt and pepper, and let cook together until the leeks have partially caramelized (approximately 5 minutes). Add the mixture to the rice.
Continue adding the warm broth/wine little by little, stirring occasionally, as it is absorbed. The rice/leeks should simmer at a slow boil until it reaches a somewhat soupy, slightly stiff consistency.
Approximately 7 minutes before risotto is done, heat the remaining 3 pieces of bacon in the 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Season the scallops with ground pepper and salt. When the bacon begins to release the fat and become crispy, remove the bacon from the pan and add the scallops. Cook until golden brown on both sides (approximately 2 minutes per side depending on thickness of scallops). While cooking, microwave the three slices of bacon until extra crispy. Reserve for garnish.
When risotto is done, stir in the peas, Parmesan and green onions and serve immediately. Top with scallops, crunchy bacon bits and chives.