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pumpkin & spinach risotto with scallops

Pumpkin & Spinach Risotto with Seared Scallops

Maggie Michalczyk, RDN
Scallops may seem super fancy to make, or maybe you thought they were unhealthy because at restaurants they are often in heavy pasta dishes. Put a seasonal spin on a classic dish with this recipe for pumpkin & spinach risotto with scallops. It’s the perfect cozy date night in dish and pairs well with a crisp, fruity wine like a sauvignon blanc.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 2 servings


For the risotto:

  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the scallops:

  • 1 pound jumbo scallops
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium-size heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring continuously, just until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and continue to stir, using a wooden spoon, to coat the rice with the oil.
  • Add the white wine and continue cooking, stirring often, until it has been absorbed by the rice. Pour in enough stock to cover the rice completely, about 3 cups, and continue to cook, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Pour in 1 cup more of the remaining stock and stir and cook until it has been absorbed. Stirring, until the rice is tender but still chewy, and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Meanwhile, place scallops on rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towel. Place another paper towel on top of scallops and press gently on towel to blot liquid. Let scallops sit at room temperature for 10 minutes while towels absorb moisture.
  • Stir in the pumpkin puree, and spinach into the risotto and reduce the heat to very low so that the rice doesn't simmer anymore. Stir in the Parmesan, ginger, and butter to give the risotto a nice, creamy finish. Top with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add salt and pepper to both side side of scallops. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat until hot. Add scallops in a single layer, flat side down, and cook, without moving, until well browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet. Using tongs, flip scallops and continue to cook, until sides of scallops are firm and centers are opaque, about 30 to 90 seconds longer.
  • Add ½ of risotto to a plate, top with 2-3 scallops per portion. Sprinkle more cheese on top if you wish, and enjoy!


Done scallops with turn white or opaque and become firm to the touch when done. Seafood should be consumed within one or two days when it’s fresh or thawed. Swap white wine for more broth if you desire.