Pistachio Encrusted Sea Scallops with Champagne Risotto and Roasted Asparagus is a beautiful, restaurant-quality meal that’s easy to prepare at home. Perfect for any private celebration for two!
Have you made your dinner reservations for Valentine’s Day yet? You probably need to get rolling on that if you haven’t.
Or, don’t worry about it at all. You won’t miss going out with this restaurant-quality meal of pistachio encrusted sea scallops. It’s easily prepared for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at home. Just think… No crowds and no limited, astronomically-priced menus!
Sweet sea scallops encrusted with a pistachio, lemon zest and black pepper combination are served atop a simple baked champagne risotto accompanied by roasted asparagus.
Play some soft music, light some candles, pour some champagne or a beautiful wine and you’re all set!
First, you’ll need to get the risotto going. And no, you don’t need to painstakingly stir it on the stovetop. Here’s a great almost hands-off method you’re going to love!
Start the risotto on the stovetop which is what most risotto recipes require. When it’s time to add the heated broth, add all but a small amount. Get the risotto boiling then take off the heat, cover and place in a preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Check it every so often just to be sure it doesn’t get dry while baking. Remove from the oven, stir in the remaining broth, cream and cheese and voila, you’ve got risotto! Risotto is done when it’s tender but still has that appealing al dente bite.
When buying sea scallops, look for dry-packed scallops that have not been treated with a chemical solution. Most sea scallops are mechanically harvested. Unless you purchase diver-caught scallops which are hand-harvested, they may contain a small amount of grit. Rinse them well under cold running water and pat dry. I’ve got a full scallop buying, handling and searing tutorial in this post.
I like to hand chop the pistachios for this dish because a mini food processor tends to pulverize them too much. Another option is to use a manual nut chopper.
Roasting, a method that I think brings out the best flavor is our favorite way of enjoying most vegetables—especially asparagus. A simple treatment of olive oil, salt and pepper is all it needs to complement the rest of the dish.
If your sweetie has a nut allergy, try the blackening combination in my Blackened Halibut recipe. The spiciness is wonderful against the rich, creamy risotto.
To finish out this romantic dinner of pistachio encrusted sea scallops, start with a mixed baby green salad with balsamic vinaigrette and purchase some tiramisu for dessert!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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20 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
50 minTotal Time
2 ¼ cups chicken broth, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry champagne
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
¼ cup shelled roasted and salted pistachios, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8-10 large sea scallops, washed and patted dry
Salt, to taste
1 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken broth in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
Heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat in an oven-safe saucepan. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened, being careful not to brown it. Add garlic and rice and cook for 1-2 minutes or until slightly translucent, being careful not to brown it. Add the champagne and cook, stirring until almost evaporated.
Stir in 2 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove from heat, cover and transfer to the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. (Do not let rice get dry.)
Remove from the oven. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup chicken broth, cream, Parmesan cheese and parsley.
Combine chopped pistachios, lemon zest and black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat in a nonstick skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season scallops with salt and black pepper. Cook approximately 1-2 minutes on the first side or until browned. Turn scallops and cook 1 more minute, basting scallops with butter in the pan. The scallops are properly cooked when slightly firm to the touch.
Using tongs, remove the scallops from the pan and lightly dredge in the pistachio mixture, pressing gently to secure.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast 6-8 minutes to desired tenderness.
To serve, place risotto on a plate, top with scallops and asparagus. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.