Apple Cider, Pancetta and Onion Risotto with Seared Sea Scallops

This meal is one we made from several different pairings of four basic ingredients. Those ingredients are: sea scallops, pancetta (Italian bacon), onion and apple cider. Each ingredient can easily be paired with another for a perfect, common, flavor combination: scallops and bacon; bacon and onions; apple and onions; you get the idea. So how can a cook go wrong by putting them all together?

We seared the scallops (perfectly, if we say so ourselves) by drying them well on a paper towel and putting them in a non-stick pan that has been pre-heated to super-hot (no oil!). The trick is to be patient and NOT to flip them until the pan is letting go. In other words, don't force the flip! If they are sticking, they are not perfectly seared. We sprinkled them with a pinch of pink salt and served them with this risotto that was seasonal and delicious.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 ounces diced pancetta
1 cup arborio rice
2 cups apple cider
2 cups water
salt to taste

Pour the apple cider and water into medium saucepan and set over medium-low heat. In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion and pancetta together until they start to caramelize. Add the rice and stir until it begins to toast. Slowly add the cider/water liquid to the rice mixture, one ladle at a time, stirring well and adding more liquid only when the rice soaks up most of what is already in the skillet. Continue this process, stirring constantly, until the apple cider/water mixture is gone and rice is tender. Serve with seared scallops or your choice of protein.


jck said...

The same tip--don't flip until it gives--works for fish. Love it.
Sounds like a simple and delicious dinner.

Kate said...

We eat risotto often so this is a great idea to add to the list! Kate @ kateiscooking