We make a lot of paella in our household, but sometimes I really just want risotto, that dreamy, creamy combination of perfectly cooked rice, cheese, and broth. I especially love it mixed with seasonal vegetables and topped with quickly grilled shellfish, like this Summer Risotto with Grilled Scallops. I've used my Four Citrus Mojo Spice Blend to season this risotto, giving it a fun little Cuban flair that plays nicely with the zucchini and corn I've chosen to use. Of course, risotto is infinitely adaptable to flavor combinations and seasons, so feel free to use whatever produce speaks to you and include the shellfish (or not), depending on how you feel.
Let's get cooking, shall we?
Summer Risotto with Grilled Scallops
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
6 tablespoons Four Citrus Mojo Spice Blend, divided
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion (about half of a large onion)
2 cups diced fresh zucchini (about 3-4 medium zucchini)
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 3 ears of corn)
Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh tender herbs such as basil, parsley, and/or mint
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 pound sea scallops
Place chicken broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Season generously with Four Citrus Mojo Spice Blend (maybe 3 tablespoons). You want your broth to have nice flavor because that liquid is what is going to flavor the rice itself. Keep the broth warm.
Heat a couple of glugs (about 2-3 tablespoons) of olive oil in a 4-5 quart pot or enameled dutch oven over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the diced zucchini and cook until just softened. Add some more Four Citrus Mojo Spice Blend (maybe 2 tablespoons) followed by the minced garlic and rice and stir, coating all of the rice with olive oil. This process is called "pearling" the rice.
Add the white wine, stir, and allow the liquid to evaporate before adding enough warm broth to cover the rice. Stir frequently (but not necessarily constantly), allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more broth. Repeat this process, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender all the way through but still chewy. You can test the rice by rubbing a couple of grains in between your thumb and index finger. If the rice is still hard in the middle it's not quite done. Continue adding broth and stirring. Taste now and add salt to taste.
While your rice is cooking, dry your scallops and remove the small muscle on the side if necessary. Toss scallops in a glug of olive oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon of Four Citrus Mojo Spice Blend. Sear scallops on a super hot grill or cast iron skillet. Set aside grilled scallops and cover them to keep them warm.
When the rice is ready, add the lemon zest and juice, the fresh herbs, and the parmesan. Your risotto should be creamy with a somewhat loose consistency, so add some more broth if necessary. Remove from the heat and arrange grilled scallops on top. Serve immediately with additional parmesan, if desired.
If you've got a couple of extra minutes, I've included below a quick video of Michael and me making this dish on our family boat!