Friday, October 7, 2016

Sweet Pea Risotto with Scallops

by Missy Tippens

This past Sunday after the Atlanta Falcons game (way to go Falcons!), my husband said he wanted to take me out to dinner--my choice of places. I decided to call Pappadeaux to find out if they had a wait. When I looked up the phone number, I saw this amazing looking dish on their home page. I immediately decided that was where we would go for dinner whether they had a wait or not!

The scallops and risotto ended up being very, very good. And because it's such a simple dish, I decided to make it so I could share it with y'all!

Here's the dish from the restaurant. Let's see if I can make mine look as good!

So I went looking at Food Network. I found almost the exact recipe for Sweet Pea and Scallop Risotto from Tyler Florence. (Click here for the recipe.) I based my recipe on his (making some slight variations like leaving out celery for my husband's taste).

Sweet Pea Risotto with Scallops

1 pound large scallops (I bought some really nice ones at Wilkes Meat Market with a gift certificate)
2 cups frozen green peas (thawed)
8 cups heated chicken stock
2 TBS Penzey's dried shallots (I didn't have any fresh on hand)
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine (I only had sweet wine but used it anyway)
3 TBS butter (room temp)
5 TBS olive oil (divided)
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Mix 1 cup peas (reserving the other 1 cup for later) and 1/3 cup chicken stock in blender. Set to the side.

Heat 3 TBS oil and add shallots. Allow them to soften for a couple of minutes.

Add the rice and stir until coated well. Add the wine and cook until most of it is evaporated. Add a ladle full of the hot stock. Stir gently until mostly absorbed.

This is the part where you're kind of tied to the stove, stirring! Keep adding stock a cup (ladle full) at a time and stirring until each is absorbed.

After about 15 minutes, the rice should be getting creamy and still have a little bite to it. Don't worry if you didn't use all the chicken stock. You may not need it all. (Actually, this step took more like 30 minutes for me.) One thing that Tyler's recipe included was the direction to stir with a wooden spoon. I was using my silicone coated spoon and realized that the reason for the wooden one is probably to help rough up the grains some to release the starch. Once I switched over, the rice started to look creamier.

Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 TBS butter and parmesan.  Then gently stir in the pea mixture plus the last cup of whole peas. Remove from the burner and cover to keep warm.

Now it's time to cook the scallops. You can click here because I've shared seared scallops here at the blog before. The main thing you want to do is rinse them so they're not gritty, and then dry them well so you can get a good caramelized sear. You'll be using 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil plus the last tablespoon or two of butter. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side (depending on the size of the scallops). You don't want rubber scallops! You can gently press them with your finger and tell if they're getting cooked through without getting too firm.

Serve the gorgeous scallops on top of the beautiful green risotto! A very spring-looking dish that I'm sharing in the fall. Go figure. :)

Okay, drumroll, please... Does my dish look as good as the original? :)


  1. Oh my gosh, it looks better!!!! I've never creamed rice before, I'm always a "firm" rice person, but this looks marvelous, Missy! I must try this because I think Dave would love it, too.

    Thank you so much for sharing this!!!!!

    1. Ruthy, I bet y'all would love risotto. I love to order it at restaurants. This is only the second or third time I've made it. I'd love to do it more often!

  2. WOWWWWWWW. I can't say I'll make this anytime soon because I'm afraid we can't find good scallops here. I think they have some frozen scallops in the freezer section and I can't bear to destroy such a delicious looking dish with bad seafood.

    I'm saving this in a file for the next time we're on the coast and I can get fresh scallops. It looks delicious!

    1. Virginia, I'm not sure how frozen scallops cook up. Maybe give it a try. As long as you thaw them well, rinse and dry, then they may work just fine. This was so good! It's worth a try. :)

  3. By the way, we had leftover risotto and ate it last night. The scallops were gone, so I just cooked some portobellos in butter and wine to go with the rice, and it was good too!

  4. Your version looks better than the restaurant's!

    And you could probably add just about any protein to this...chicken, shrimp, salmon... And now I'm getting hungry!

    One question - I've never seen Arborio rice before (although I'll look this weekend). Do you think you could use a different kind? Like Basmati or Jasmine?

    I'm not sure brown rice would cream up like that...but it's worth a try!

    Thanks, Missy!

    1. Jan, I think it's easy to find arborio. But I checked and found this on

      "Types of Rice Used in Making Risotto: Use only Italian short-grain rice varieties such as Aroborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, and Baldo (Arborio is the most commonly found short-grain rice). Short-grain rice has a high starch content and tends to absorb less liquid, resulting in a stickier, more compact risotto."

      I saw on another site that medium grain rices can overcook and turn mushy.

  5. Honestly, I think yours looks better. Those scallops look divine!

    1. They tasted even better than they looked! :) I bought more to make them again with the leftover rice.