2Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
125g pancetta cubes (or 3-4 rashers smoked streaky bacon)
1 small onion (diced – small)
2 cups arborio/risotto rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1L chicken stock
16-20 scallops (frozen tends to be better – defrost in plenty of time – pat dry!)
2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach – coarsley chopped – or 3/4 blocks of frozen
1 cup freshlay grated parmesan; more for sprinkling
Salt and Pepper
Knob of butter
Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 4 to 6 minutes longer.
Stir in the rice until well coated with fat. Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of stock and cook, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue to add the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring very frequently until each addition is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes total. Add 1 cup of water and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is just barely done, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach wilts, and the rice is mostly tender, with a little chew at the center, about 2-3 minutes longer.
In a separate frying pan over a high heat add the knob of butter and a splash of olive oil. Add the scallops (try to do it in a clockwise arrangement to ensure you turn them over in order) – fry for no more than 30 seconds per side – until you have a little caramelisation on each side.
Stir in the Parmigiano to the risotto and season to taste with salt. Serve immediately, place the scallops on top and sprinkle each portion with a little Parmigiano and a grind or two of pepper.