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
Preheat 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.
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.)
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.
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.