Saffron and Scallop Risotto

Valentine’s day is upon us, so, if you fancy cooking something special for your partner that’ll let them know you really care, then cook them a Risotto, but don’t just cook any Risotto, try this Venetian Saffron and Scallop Risotto that’s bursting with flavour and colour.

Prep: 10 mins

Cook 30 mins

Difficulty Easy

Serves 3


  • 300 g of Risotto rice (Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
  • 190g (12) medium Scallops (without roe)
  • 1 large Banana shallot (or 2 small ones) finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic (finely grated)
  • 5L of Fish stock (you can use vegetable or chicken)
  • 150ml white wine
  • 50g butter
  • 50g Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • A big pinch of Saffron
  • The zest and juice of 1/4-1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Firstly, separate the best looking scallops that you’ll pan fry and serve on the top and then roughly chop the rest that will be folded in near the end of cooking. Make or pour the stock into a saucepan and keep hot on the hob, in a cup reserve a ladle of the stock with the saffron and let it infuse until needed.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom saucepan to a medium heat and cook the shallots until they start to become soft (don’t let them brown) then add the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 mins. Add the rice and stir to coat it in the oil and cook until the outside is translucent, then add the white wine and let it reduce by at least half.
  3. Add a ladle or two of the stock and let it simmer steadily so the rice can absorb it before it evaporates (you may have to reduce the heat). Once it thickens add the reserved stock and saffron, stir and let the rice take on the vibrant yellow colour (this will intensify as it cooks) and then one by one add a ladle of stock, stir and absorb until the rice becomes plump but still has a bite to it, this should take around 15 mins (keep an eye in it and stir often so it doesn’t catch or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. As you reach the end of cooking, stir through the chopped scallops and cook for around 5 mins, reduce the heat right down then add the butter and stir vigorously to thicken and add shine to the risotto. Add the parmesan cheese if you’re using it and grate the lemon zest and squeeze the juice, then add salt and pepper to taste. Cover with the lid and leave until ready to serve.
  5. Time to cook the scallops, pat them dry and add a little salt to one side, heat a small frying pan on high and add a little olive oil. Place the scallops salt side down one by one in a clock wise pattern starting at 12 and cook until the bottom of the scallops are golden brown, add salt to this side then flip (starting with the one at 12 and work your way round), lower the heat and add more butter to the pan and let it foam, carefully tilt the pan and use a spoon to baste the scallops in the lovely puddle of melted butter for a minute or two, then remove and place on a sheet of kitchen paper.
  6. Check the risotto and if it has become thick add a little hot water or stock if you have some left just to loosen it and then serve in a bowl, place three of the pan-fried scallops in the middle and dress with a bit of chopped parsley if you like.

TIP : It’s better to have a bit more stock than you need so you can add it if the risotto gets too thick

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