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Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Israeli Couscous Risotto and Aged Parmesan

Servings: 4


1 butternut squash
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
2/3 cup Israeli couscous
1 arbol chile
1 fresh bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup grated Wisconsin aged parmesan cheese, divided
12 large sea scallops
4 teaspoons sunflower kernels
Parsley or fresh herbs for garnish

Cooking Directions:

For squash: Heat oven to 350°F. Peel squash, remove seeds and dice into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss cubes in 1/4 cup olive oil and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Place on sheet pan; roast until squash is soft but still holds its shape, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

For couscous risotto: Heat chicken stock in small saucepan; set aside. In another small saucepan, sweat the shallots and garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil until translucent. Add couscous; stir. Add half the hot chicken stock, the chile and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Stir mixture over medium heat until liquid is absorbed. Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time until couscous is cooked to the desired doneness, stirring constantly. You may not need all of the stock.

Add 1/2 cup of the roasted squash to the cooked couscous; cook until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and add butter, parsley and 1/2 cup cheese. Remove chile and discard. (Reserve remaining squash for additional servings.)

For scallops: While couscous is cooking, season scallops with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large sauté pan over high heat. Sear scallops on both sides until they are very brown, about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on size. Do not overcook.

Final preparation: Dish couscous risotto onto serving plate. Top with cooked scallops. Garnish dish with sunflower kernels and remaining freshly grated cheese. For color and freshness, top with fresh herbs or parsley.

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