Marcus Samuelsson: Saffron Risotto With Sea Scallops And Pea Puree From Babbalucci

May 4, 2017

By Marcus Samuelsson

Babbalucci in Harlem is an Italian Kitchen & Wood Burning Oven offering rustic Italian-American cuisine. Dedicated to locally sourced ingredients and bringing in local talent, Babbalucci specializes in small plates, pizza and pasta. This Risotto is found on the dinner menu and is perfect for spring with its vibrant green Pea Puree, Grilled Scallops, and Trout Roe.

Prep Details

Servings: 1-2

Total time: 40 minutes


For the Pea Puree

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1 cup English peas

1 lemon , zested and juiced



Water , as needed

For the Risotto

2 cups arborio rice

1 shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch saffron

1 cup dry white wine

1 quart chicken or fish stock

Salt and Pepper , to taste

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For Serving

4-5 dry sea scallops, foot removed

1 teaspoon smoked trout roe


For the Pea Puree

Bring small pot of salted water to boil. Have on hand 1 bowl of ice water, salted.

Put peas in boiling water until bright green in color and cooked tender, strain and place in ice water.

When cooled, drain and run peas through food processor or blender. Add salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and water to taste and desired texture. When done pass through fine mesh strainer, set aside.

For the Risotto

Bring stock to a boil and reduce heat to a slow simmer.

In a medium pot, add olive oil to coat bottom of pot and heat over medium heat. Slowly cook the shallot and garlic until translucent. Add saffron and stir. Add the rice and coat with oil mixture. Keep cooking and stirring for about one minute and add the white wine. Immediately reduce the flame.

Continue to stir the rice and cook until white wine has cooked out and absorbed. Add just enough stock to cover rice and continue to stir until stock has cooked and absorbed. Repeat the process with stock and stirring until rice is almost completely cooked, slightly al dente (about 18 minutes).

Off the heat, stir in butter. Remove rice and set aside.

Dry scallops thoroughly using a paper towel and salt and pepper both sides. Bring a cast iron or steel pan to high heat, coat bottom of pan with olive oil. When oil is smoking slightly add scallops and cook each side for about one minute until nice crust and caramelization has formed.

In a separate pan, bring the puree and risotto to temperature. Finish the scallops off the heat with a small knob of butter.

To serve, place puree on plate with spoon and make a resting place for the scallops. Place scallops on top of puree and serve risotto on the side. Lightly sprinkle smoked trout roe on risotto and scallops.

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