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Saffron and Lemon Risotto with Scallops

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Serves: 4
16 live scallops, shucked
juice of 1 lemon, plus extra for seasoning
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 small onion, finely chopped
280g / 10 oz arborio rice
1 tsp crumbled saffron threads
1.2 litres / 2 pints simmering fish or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
115g / 4 oz freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
1 lemon, cut into wedges and 2 tsp grated lemon rind, to garnish

Place the scallops in a non-metallic bowl and mix with the lemon juice. Cover the bowl with cling film and chill for 15 minutes.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to turn golden. Add the rice and mix to coat in oil and butter. Cook, stirring, until the grains are translucent. Dissolve the saffron in 4 tablespoons of hot stock and add to the rice. Gradually add the remaining stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

When the risotto is nearly cooked, preheat a griddle pan over a high heat. Brush the scallops with oil and sear on the griddle pan for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. Take care not to overcook or they will be rubbery.

Remove the risotto from the heat and add the remaining butter. Mix well, then stir in the Parmesan until it melts. Season with lemon juice, adding just 1 teaspoon at a time and tasting as you go. Serve the risotto immediately with the scallops and lemon wedges arranged on top, sprinkled with lemon zest.

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