Welcome to a culinary adventure that's perfect for a date night or a dinner party! Made with Truffle Cheddar Gouda cheese, sea scallops seared to perfection, and served with roasted tomatoes this creamy Truffle Risotto is the kind of meal that will have everyone asking for seconds.
- Arborio Rice: A starchy, short-grain rice ideal for risotto, creating a creamy texture.
- Chicken Stock: Adds flavor to the rice during cooking.
- Truffle Cheese or Truffle Oil: Infuses the dish with a luxurious, earthy truffle flavor.
- Parmesan Cheese: Provides a rich, savory flavor to the risotto.
- Scallops: Offer a delicate, slightly sweet seafood element.
- Roma Tomatoes: Roasted for a concentrated, sweet, and tangy pop.
- White Wine: Enhances the risotto's flavor with acidity and depth.
- Shallots: Offer a subtle, slightly sweet flavor, and aroma of the dish.
- Butter & Olive Oil: Used for cooking and adding richness.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and fresh thyme to taste.
When making great risotto, the type of rice you use matters. Arborio rice is the right choice due to its high starch content, which contributes to the dish's creamy consistency. Carnaroli rice is another excellent option, offering a slightly different texture but equally delicious results.
Truffle Cheddar Gruyere
While you can use fresh truffles or truffle oil; we've stumbled upon a culinary gem that takes this risotto to the next level—Truffle Cheddar Gruyere. Less expensive than fresh truffles, and easier to procure it's a great alternative.
Found at our local grocery store, this cheese provides all the truffle flavor you could ever want while elevating the dish with an exceptionally creamy, cheesy richness.
For this recipe, we are using Sea scallops. The smaller size of the bay scallops makes them easier to overcook, and harder to get a proper sear. And nobody wants overcooked scallops...
Quick Tip: One way to remember which is which is that a Bay is much smaller than the Sea. Bigger body of water, bigger scallops!
Roma tomatoes are robust enough to maintain their structure during the cooking process, yet tender enough to melt in your mouth with every bite. If you can't find Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes make a great substitution. They're smaller but pack a lot of flavor and can be just as visually appealing.
Whether you opt for chicken stock or chicken broth, quality is key. A good-quality stock will add depth and richness to your risotto, elevating it from good to great. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even make your own stock at home for an extra layer of homemade goodness.
A splash of dry white wine can work wonders in risotto, acting as a flavor elevator that lifts the dish to gourmet status. The acidity of the wine cuts through the creaminess of the risotto, providing a balanced taste profile. Opt for a good-quality wine, perhaps something like Pinot Gris.
Bonus: It will naturally pair well with the dish since it's being used in the cooking process.
Shallots bring a subtle sweetness creating a balanced and flavorful starting point for your creamy truffle risotto. You can substitute a 50/50 mix of garlic and red onion if you don't have shallots available.
Thyme brings a subtle, earthy flavor with slight floral notes, while rosemary offers a piney aroma and a robust taste. Either is fine. Use in the roasted tomato, finishing the scallops, and for garnish.
Large Saucepan: For the risotto.
Medium Saucepan: For keeping the chicken broth at a low simmer.
Wooden Spoon: Essential for stirring the risotto to creamy perfection.
Sheet Tray & Parchment: For roasting the tomatoes.
Tongs: For placing and flipping scallops
While you can find the full recipe card below, this is a slightly deeper dive. If you are making this recipe for the first time we recommend you follow along here to get more details along the way...
Prepping the Ingredients
Shred the Truffle Cheese: We use our grating attachment on our KitchenAid to save time.
Prep Your Tomatoes: Quarter your romas, and get them completely ready to put in the oven.
Measure the Broth: Whether it's chicken stock or vegetable broth, start warming it in a medium saucepan on low heat.
Clean Your Scallops: Remove the abductor, rinse, and lay on paper towels - see the infographic below
Removing the Abductor Muscle
Don't skip this step! When prepping your scallops, you will notice a small muscle hanging onto the side of the scallop. It's called the adductor muscle. While it is edible, I highly recommend removing it. It peels off very easily with no special tools required. Here are the top 3 reasons I like to remove them...
#1 The adductor muscle is the muscle that holds the scallop to the shell making it tougher than the rest of the scallop.
#2 Scallops hang out in the sand. That sand likes to sneak into the space between the adductor muscle and the main muscle. If you don't remove it, you risk taking a gritty bite of the scallop.
#3 Aesthetically, you are left with a perfectly cylindrical scallop. This last one is just me being extra... sorry not sorry.
After removing the adductor muscle I like to give my scallops a quick rinse in cold water, and lay them out on a dry paper towel until you are ready to use them.
Roasting the Tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Quarter your tomatoes and simply toss them in your fresh herbs, and olive oil, and season with kosher salt & fresh ground pepper.
- Place them evenly across a baking sheet.
- Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes - right when you should be starting your risotto.
Making the Risotto Base
The secret to creamy risotto lies in the constant stirring. This releases the starch from the rice, giving you that dreamy, creamy texture. The goal is to cook the rice until there's a slight bite or slight resistance, to achieve that perfect al dente texture.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook shallots or garlic. Sautéing for 1-2 minutes or until translucent and smells amazing.
- Then add your wine (carefully) and let reduce slightly.
- Next, add the arborio rice and stir, coating each piece in our delicious butter, shallot wine mixture. Slowly, ½ cup at a time, start adding your chicken stock, and stir with a wooden spoon.
- Stir constantly until it's absorbed. After adding 3 of the 4 cups of stock, taste test your risotto to check for tenderness.
- If your rice is still slightly hard, add the remaining chicken stock until it's al dente.
- Finally, add your shredded truffle cheese and mix until melted. Taste, and add kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste.
If your risotto turns out too thick, a ladle of hot broth can save the day. Too runny? Extend the cooking time a bit.
Searing the Scallops
I recommend a heavy bottom pan like a cast iron or stainless steel sauté pan for searing your scallops. For the nerds out there think about it in terms of thermal mass. If you add something cold to something hot the temperature will drop. We don't want that to happen!
- Before cooking your scallops, dry them on a paper towel for at least 10 minutes.
- Using high heat, add olive oil to your pan to completely coat the bottom.
- Season your scallops with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Once seasoned immediately move them to the pan, placing them at least 1" apart in every direction.
- Cook for around 1-2 minutes or until a golden crust has formed. Season the back sides of each scallop while they sear.
- Turn each scallop one at a time and cook for 1 minute.
- Turn off the pan, and add your butter and fresh thyme stems if desired.
- Use a simple kitchen spoon, to baste the scallops in the melted butter.
- Once basted, remove them to ensure they don't overcook.
Once the risotto rice is al dente, add the seared scallops and roasted tomatoes. If you are serving family style, this is easily added to one large bowl for everyone to serve themselves from.
You can also easily plate this per person. Start with a bed of risotto, and add your seared scallops on top alongside your roasted tomatoes. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and a drizzle of good-quality olive oil or truffle butter for an extra layer of flavor.
We made a full in-depth article on not only how to properly store your risotto but also how to reheat it when the time comes, including fun new ways to use your risotto as well.
Leftover scallops aren't ideal for freezing but it can be done. If you find yourself with leftover scallops that need to be frozen, I recommend reading our article on How to Reheat Frozen Scallops.
No problem. You can substitute the gruyere for parmesan cheese and add truffle oil to add the truffle flavor. Start by adding 1 teaspoon of white truffle oil, stir, and taste. If you desire a more intense truffle flavor, continue adding the oil 1 teaspoon at a time until you've reached your preferred level of truffle intensity.
Absolutely! If you're a fan of mushrooms, feel free to add some fresh mushrooms like portobello to the mix. Cook them on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of oil until they release their juices for a rich flavor.
White pepper offers a less intense heat and can be used if you prefer its flavor. It's all about personal preference.
There's no better way to impress your guests than with this creamy truffle risotto. It's a dish that promises much flavor and delivers even more. So why not give it a try? You might just find it's one of the best things you've ever made.
Seared Scallops with Truffle Risotto & Roasted Tomatoes
- 1 Small Pot
- 1 Large Sauce Pan
- 1 Cheese Grater
- 1 Knife
- Cast Iron Pan or Heavy Bottom Sautee Pan
- 1 pound Sea Scallops
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- 4 sprigs Fresh Thyme - optional
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Ground Pepper
Oven Roasted Tomatoes
- 6 Roma Tomatoes
- 3 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme - or ¼ teaspoon dry
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Rosemary - or ¼ teaspoon dry
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt - ¼ teaspoon if using table salt
- ¼ teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
Timeline Instructions Cheat Sheet
- We made a timeline cheat sheet and put it in the notes below!
- In a small pot, warm your chicken stock until it's barely simmering. We will need it warm & ready to go shortly.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the shallots or garlic. Sauteing for 1-2 minutes or until it smells amazing but doesn't brown.
- Add your wine (carefully) and let reduce slightly.
- Next, add the arborio rice and stir, coating each piece in our delicious butter, shallot wine mixture.
- Slowly, ½ cup at a time, start adding your chicken stock. Stirring constantly until it's absorbed.
- After adding 3ish of the 4 cups of stock, taste your risotto to check for doneness. If your rice is still slightly hard, add the remaining chicken stock until it's tender.
- Finally, add your shredded truffle cheese and mix until melted.
- Taste, and add kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste.
Oven Roasted Tomatoes
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Quarter your Roma tomatoes. If using cherry tomatoes no need to cut at all.
- In a small bowl, toss your tomatoes in your olive oil, rosemary, thyme, kosher salt & fresh ground pepper.
- Place a sheet tray with foil or parchment and roast for 30 minutes or until tender and slightly charred.
- Before cooking your scallops, remove the adductor muscle, rinse, place on a paper towel-lined plate and cover with another paper towel.
- Let the scallops sit for at least 30 minutes to drain any extra moisture.
- Bring a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed saute pan to high heat.
- Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Testing to make sure the pan is up to temperature, touch a scallop to the pan. If you hear an immediate and loud sizzle you are ready to get started.
- Season your scallops with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and immediately move them to the pan, placing them at least 1" apart in every direction.
- Cook for around 1 minute or until a golden crust has formed, then turn over.
- Once flipped, let cook for 1 minute, and then add your butter and fresh thyme stems if desired.
- Turn off the pan and use a simple kitchen spoon, to baste the scallops in the melted butter.
- Serve over your risotto with your roasted tomatoes. Garnishing with fresh basil if desired.
- Sit back, take a bite, and enjoy!
- Shread the Truffle Cheese
- Clean your Scallops (remove the abductor, rinse, and lay on paper towels)
- Get your tomatoes completely ready to put in the oven.
- Get your Chicken Stock in a pot on the stove.
- Put your tomatoes in the oven.
- Start on your risotto.
- Snack on cheese and sip wine 😉
- When your risotto is on its very last cup of stock being added, start cooking your scallops.
- Your tomatoes should be coming out of the oven right about now.
- Taste your risotto & make sure it's tender. If not, add another cup of stock (or water if you've run out).