I bought my first bottle of white truffle oil today, yeah! Boy, does THAT have a strong, strange smell when you stick your nose in the bottle and take a big whiff, eh? Wooh! However, when drizzled over something like what I made tonight, it just adds that layer of nuttiness that you can't quite place, but you know tastes good.
My friend Kara came over tonight and I told her that I would cook for her. She said she loved scallops so I decided to make those and a risotto for her. I followed the attached recipe from Bon Appétit magazine (2003), only adding mushrooms. I also had to add a bit more heated chicken broth because the rice was still thirsty once I ran out of the clam juice/chicken broth mixture.
I started by cooking my shrimp in some heated olive oil for just a few minutes until just done.
I then removed the shrimp from the pan and chopped it up to be added to the finished risotto later. I then added my onions, garlic, and mushrooms to the pan and sauteed those for a few minutes.
Next, I added a cup of the arborio rice and sauteed that until the rice was slightly browned.
I then added some white wine to deglaze the pan and started the risotto-making process. I learned the process of making risotto from my boyfriend, Mark, who happens to be part northern Italian. Actually, the first thing he ever cooked for me was a wild mushroom and wine risotto and it was so good. Risotto is the greatest because it's so creamy and full of deep, rich flavor. It's also one of those "empty canvas" type of foods where there are just endless possibilities of what you could add to it to make it fresh and new.
I grabbed my ladle and little by little, added the hot clam juice/chicken broth to the rice mixture and stirred away with my wooden spoon. The arborio rice released it's wonderful starchiness, sucking all the liquid up and producing a rich, flavorful gravy in return. I continued to add the hot liquid as the rice absorbed it, until the rice was finally al dente.
I then added the chopped, cooked shrimp and seasoned the risotto with salt, pepper, parsley, and some grated Parmesan cheese. Is it even considered risotto without Parmesan cheese? Not in our house!
The risotto was finished, so I moved on to the scallops, which are about the easiest thing in the world to make (at least when you have your trusty cast iron pan). I simply drizzled some olive oil on them and seasoned them with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic powder. I seared them in canola oil until browned on both sides.
To plate this dish, simply place the scallops on top of the risotto or circled around it. Top the risotto with a little more Parmesan, then lightly drizzle your truffle oil over everything. It ended up tasting great and wasn't heavy. It was a great meal for two girlfriends to gobble up with some pinot grigio and a healthy side of gossip and remember-whens. She had me crying (with laughter) at one point when she reminded me that I was always crazy about "fancy" food. Anytime my mom would let me cook, I would always want to make some kind of fancy little appetizer. It couldn't be anything considered normal, it had to be something I saw someone eat on TV or in a magazine. I don't know where I got this obsession with all things food, but after reminiscing with my friend tonight, I now remember that it's always been a love of mine. And believe me, always will be.