Everyone thinks risotto is hard to make, but it's very easy. And it's so impressive and delicious. In this recipe for Easy Mushroom Scallop Risotto, I show you how simple it is.
I also added asparagus to add flavor and a green vegetable. But you can make it without, or add peas instead.
You can convert this basic risotto recipe to whatever you like by swapping out the ingredients. For example, just switch out the scallops and asparagus for shrimp and peas. Have fun and be creative.
Note: I am testing this jump-down anchor link feature, so if it doesn't work when you are reading this email, I'm sorry. You'll have to scroll through War and Peace to get to the actual recipe.
Proving Scott Conant Wrong
The reason I decided to make this recipe is because we were watching Chopped reruns and Guest Judge Scott Conant said that it is a cardinal sin in Italy to combine seafood and cheese.
He actually said that to one of the chefs as he voted her off.
My daughter looked at me, aghast. "Is that true?"
I said, "Yes, I think so."
This is the same daughter who is most certainly the most logical person in the universe. When I grow tired of debating her, she counters with, "You're the one who taught me about logical fallacies when I was five. This is your fault."
"How do you know?" she asked.
"Oh, boy," I thought.
"What about lobster mac and cheese?" she said. "Or Parmesan-crusted fish? Or shrimp risotto? Doesn't risotto always have Parmesan?"
"Uh... yeah, I think it's pretty traditional to use Parmesan in risotto."
She was right. Again.
And suddenly I had a craving for risotto with scallops. Hence, this recipe for Easy Mushroom & Scallop Risotto.
Let me state here for the record that this is nothing personal. I like Scott Conant. He's one of my favorite guest judges on Chopped. However, he was wrong about fish and cheese.
Just like he is wrong about red onion, but I won't get into that here.
Health Benefits of Risotto
Risotto is one of the best ways to get more nutrient-rich chicken or beef stock into your diet.
Chicken or beef stock, also called bone broth, is one of my top ten health super foods. It's full of collagen, which you all know the health benefits of, because everyone's pushing it on Instagram, adding it to their smoothies and Bulletproof coffee. You don't have to drink smoothies – you can just eat risotto.
Oh, you don't know the health benefits of bone broth? Where have you been the last decade? Bone broth has amino acids galore, which make you happy. That's right, feel-good brain chemicals.
Amino acids also make you beautiful. Collagen is what makes your skin look youthful and not saggy and wrinkled, and helps your hair grow (when you also get enough vitamin C – I'll be writing more about that in the near future).
But wait, there's more. Bone broth is also really good for immunity. Works a lot better than a mask. Ha! If you're wearing an N95 mask you're probably not reading this.
Oh, and did I tell you about the Linus Pauling protocol to reverse heart disease? That blog post is coming any day now. Bone broth has two of the ingredients that you need for that.
Why Organic Bone Broth?
Now, you want to only use organic bone broth to make your risotto. Ideally use homemade stock made from pastured chicken or cows.
I say this because conventionally raised animals are fed grains that are sprayed with fluoride-based pesticides. The fluoride is stored in the bones of animals.
If you use regular stock to make your risotto, you are eating concentrated fluoride, which defeats the purpose of making healthy food.
Also, it calcifies your pineal gland, but that's a whole 'nother blog post.
Seafood is Nutrient-Dense
I love this recipe, too, because it includes scallops. I try to feed my family seafood at least three times a week for the omega-3 fatty acids.
Shellfish is also high in iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B12 and iodine.
No Teflon, Ever!
Oh, and please use appropriate cookware. I'll try to link to my post on that. Only stainless steel and enameled cast iron. Glass is also acceptable.
No Teflon or aluminum pans, ever!
Nothing non-stick. Throw them away; they are toxic.
Easy Mushroom & Scallop Risotto Recipe
Here's the step-by-step instructions with pictures. The recipe is at the bottom of the post.
First, you chop the onions and garlic and slice the mushrooms and set aside. If you have a sous chef (*cough* a child or willing friend or spouse) have them do that part.
Put some music on and give them a glass of wine if they partake. They will like you more and do more tasks.
Next, put the chicken or beef stock on a back burner.
Okay, that's not a back burner, but you get my point.
Sautée the onions and garlic in grass-fed butter or other healthy fat like olive oil, bacon grease, pastured lard, or refined coconut oil.
I only use refined coconut oil. I don't use virgin coconut oil because the aroma and taste of coconut oil will overwhelm the dish.
Cook until the mushrooms are soft and deflated, like this:
Add the herbs (not pictured) and then add the rice.
You can use short-grain brown rice if you don't have Arborio rice.
Then stir in the white wine.
And pour yourself a glass if you are so inclined.
I poured some red from one of my favorite places in Italy, Montepulciano. You have to open a bottle of red wine to let it breathe before dinner, so why not have some while you work?
While you drink your wine, pour the broth into the Dutch oven one cup at a time while you stir frequently.
This is why you need the wine to drink. Because you're just standing there, stirring for a good while. Hopefully you have some music on or a good podcast or audiobook to listen to.
Somewhere in here, add the asparagus if you are using it. I like the asparagus in this recipe because I think it is pretty and tasty.
You can use peas instead, which may be more palatable to children. If using peas, add them at almost the end because they don't need much time to cook.
Keep adding broth and letting the rice absorb it as you stir, until it's done. You will know it's done by tasting it.
As you taste it, you will see if it needs salt and pepper.
Here's how it looks when it's done cooking.
Note: You may not use all your broth. Cook only until the risotto is al dente but cooked through. Don't overcook it.
Finally, stir in the seared scallops and add cheese. The recipe I got this from called for 1/2 a cup of Parmesan, but that sounded crazy to me. Why so chintzy with the cheese?
In my recipe, I call for 3/4 cup but you can probably use a full cup. See how it tastes. When it comes to cheese, more is more.
And that is why they call me Cheeseslave.
If you don't like scallops, you can use shrimp or chicken or pork. But my whole family loved the scallops, and they are very nourishing.
If your family doesn't like shellfish, this may be the gateway dish that will get them hooked.
It is critical that you use only organic chicken or beef stock. See health notes above.
If you prefer, you can omit the asparagus, or swap out peas. Be sure to add the vegetables near the end so they don't get soggy and overcooked.
You can also use cooked shrimp, chicken, pork or sirloin for the protein.
If you don't have Arborio rice on hand, you can use short-grain brown rice. It comes out great.
Easy Mushroom Scallop Risotto Recipe
Onion, yellow or white (1)
Garlic cloves (2 or 3)
Mushrooms, white button or cremini (1 pound)
Chicken or beef stock organic, ideally homemade (8 cups, or 64 ounces)
Extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed butter or lard, bacon grease, or refined coconut oil (4 tablespoons, divided into 2 small bowls)
Sea scallops, large, wild-caught (1 pound)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
White wine, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc (1 cup)
Thyme, fresh – or dried if you don't have fresh (1 sprig)
French flat-leaf parsley, fresh – or dried if you don't have fresh (1 sprig)
Bay leaves (2)
Arborio rice or short-grain brown rice (2 cups)
Parmesan cheese (3/4 cup)
Optional: Asparagus or peas (one bunch or bag)
Medium saucepan, stainless steel or enameled cast iron (never Teflon or aluminum)
- Dice the onion and crush the garlic and set aside.
- Cut off the end of the stems of the mushrooms and discard. Slice mushrooms and set aside.
- Add the chicken or beef stock to a medium saucepan and set it on low on a back burner.
- Set a Dutch oven on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter or other healthy fat.
- When hot, add the scallops and brown on both sides for a couple minutes, seasoning with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm while you prepare the risotto.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add two more tablespoons of the fat to the Dutch oven.
- Stir in the onion and garlic and sautée, for 5 minutes until soft.
- If using fresh herbs, remove the stems from the thyme and parsley. Chop the leaves with a knife or use a mortar and pestle to smash them.
- Add the thyme and parsley to the pan, along with the Bay leaves.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are soft and deflated, around 10 minutes.
- Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes. Stir in the wine. Pour yourself a glass if you are so inclined.
- Pour one cup of the warm chicken or beef stock to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
- Stir constantly and continue to add the stock one cup at a time, letting it absorb before you add each cup.
- Cook until the risotto is done. You must taste it to know if it is done and also to season it with salt and pepper. Note: You may not use all of the stock. The risotto is done when you taste it and it is cooked through but still al dente (firm to the bite). In other words, not soft and soggy and overcooked.
- Finally, fold in the scallops and cheese and serve. Make sure the Parmesan is on the table, because you can always add more cheese.
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