This Valentine’s Day dinner is a take on our Simple Tomato Broth with Shrimp and Orzo but utilizes beautifully seared scallops and a garnish that comes with a kick!

GRADE

Serves: 2

Cost: $$$

Skill Level: Easy

Time to Make: 1 hour (30 minutes inactive)

INGREDIENTS FOR SEARED SCALLOPS WITH TOMATO BROTH AND ORZO

1 pound dry sea scallops, muscle removed

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons butter

TOMATO BROTH AND ORZO

6 cloves garlic

1 large shallot

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock

Pinch of sugar, to taste

Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste

1 cup dry orzo

1/3 cup reserved pasta cooking water

HERB GARNISH

1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves

1 red Fresno chili pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Flaky sea salt, to taste

METHOD

Prepare Ingredients: Pat the scallops dry and chill until ready to cook. Peel the shallot and garlic and roughly chop. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the Fresno chili pepper in half, keeping the seeds in the pepper. Roughly chop the parsley leaves.

Prepare the Garnish: In a small bowl, combine the extra virgin olive oil and the parsley leaves and stir to combine. Season with the flaky sea salt. Place the chili pepper, cut side down, into the oil and set aside. Discard the chili pepper right before serving. (If you prefer the garnish to be really spicy, mince the chili pepper and toss in the with the oil and parsley).

Prepare the Broth: Heat the butter in a pot over medium high until melted and frothy. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until well browned, but not burned. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes more until the paste has deepened in color and is fragrant. Add the white wine and whisk until the paste is incorporated into the liquid. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of sugar and a very light sprinkle of salt and pepper and a touch of crushed red pepper to taste. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. After the sauce has simmered, taste and season to your taste. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Wipe out the pot and return the broth back to the pot.

Cook the Orzo: To the pot of salted, boiling water, add the orzo. Boil for 6-7 minutes until just al dente (do not overcook). Carefully remove 1/3 cup pasta cooking water from the pot. Drain the orzo and toss with a touch of extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.

Finish the Sauce: Stir the reserved pasta cooking water into the sauce. Keep warm over very low heat.

Sear the Scallops: Right before serving (everything should be completely cooked and ready to go), prepare the scallops. Season with salt and pepper and blot dry with paper towels once more. In a large skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons butter over medium high heat until very hot and frothy. Add the scallops in an even layer and cook without touching for 1 minute 30 seconds. Gently flip and cook an additional 1 minute 30 seconds. Remove from heat immediately.

To Serve: Spoon the cooked orzo into bowls and ladle the tomato broth on top. Arrange a few scallops on top and drizzle with the oil-herb garnish. Enjoy!

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