Scallops_Risotto_Pepperonata_IMG_7410Scallops with spinach over risotto and peperonata sounds pretty fancy, no? Not like the kind of meal you’d cook for just you and your kid (whom you forgot doesn’t even like scallops), right?

Tonight’s meal was totally ad-hoc. No recipes, no fuss, quick. I love when this happens, when dinner comes out seeming really special even though there was little effort or planning involved.

For the peperonata, I sauteed an onion in generous olive oil, added a sliced pepper when the onion was soft, added chopped tomatoes when the pepper was soft, threw in a couple of glugs of vinegar, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar and let it simmer until it got thick and saucy.

The risotto was more like mock-risotto. Not as creamy as the real, time-consuming, hands-on version, but perfectly adequate for topping with sweet, fresh scallops and savory sauce.

The scallops were cooked like this, with a little spinach thrown into the sauce at the last minute. I served the spinach and scallops over the risotto and then poured the pan sauces over that.

• Mock Risotto •
a quicker, less hands-on, version of risotto (for busy nights when you don’t have time for the real deal, or for when you’re feeling lazy)

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup arborio rice
2-3 cups broth
3 gulgs of white wine
a strand of saffron or three
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add the rice and saute for a couple of minutes. Add 3 or so glugs of white wine and stir until it’s pretty much gone. Add a cup of broth and simmer, stirring occasionally. When the broth has cooked down, add another cup of broth and a strand or two of saffron. When the second cup of broth has cooked down, test rice for doneness. If it’s still tough add another half cup of broth and simmer. Continue adding broth by the half cup until the rice is cooked through and a bit saucy, not dry. Season with salt and pepper.

If you’re not serving with scallops, you can add a handful of parmesan cheese before serving.