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Seared Scallops with Pumpkin and Leek Risotto

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

How fancy does that title sound? This dish is so sophisticated in taste and appearance but SO SO easy to put together. Perfect for a cozy winter night in by the fire and delicious with a glass of wine. Save this one for your next date night dinner, I promise it will impress!

These buttery scallops take just 3 minutes to make, 3 minutes! Serve them over this creamy pumpkin risotto for a forkful that will melt in your mouth.

To make things easy we provided 2 ways to make the risotto- the instant pot and stove top version. I prefer the instant pot because it is faster and requires minimal babysitting but if you don't have an instant pot we take you step by step how to make the perfect stove top risotto!

The trick to perfectly seared scallops is to start with dry scallops.

Then prior to seasoning and searing you fully dry the scallops again with a paper towel. The dryer the scallop the better sear you are going to get.

The risotto starts with a leek and onion base.

Leeks cook down like an onion and provide so much lovely flavor. Leeks can trap dirt in them similar to lettuce. For easy cleaning, simply dice the leeks and add them to a bowl filled with water. Use your hands to shake out any dirt, then strain the water and loose dirt.

The creamy risotto comes together with the final mix ins of pumpkin, parmesan and a splash of half and half.

Seared Scallops with Pumpkin and Leek Risotto

4 servings | Cook time: 15 minutes (Instant Pot) 25 minutes (Stove Top)

Notes: Looks Michelin star but it’s so easy and ready quick!



  • 1 tsp oil

  • 1 leek, diced

  • 1 large shallot, roughly minced

  • 1 cup dry arborio rice

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth

  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin

  • 1/2 tbsp butter

  • Optional: 1/4 cup half and half (extra creamy)


  • 1.5-2 lb dry scallops

  • 1 tbsp high smoke point oil

  • 1/2 tbsp butter

  • Salt and pepper


  1. Instant Pot risotto:

    1. Turn instant pot onto sauté. Add oil, leek and shallot and sauté until soft (2-3 minutes). Add butter and rice and toast another 2-3 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of chicken broth.

    2. Close lid and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes. Allow to release for 5 minutes, open pot and turn pot onto sauté.

    3. Add remaining broth stirring until liquid reduces by half. While stirring, add in parmesan, pumpkin, season with salt and pepper and optional half and half. Continue stirring until it is thick and creamy.

  2. Stove Top risotto:

    1. Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a medium pot.

    2. In a separate large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add leek and shallot and sauté until soft (2-3 minutes).

    3. Add in butter and rice and toast for 2-3 minutes.

    4. Ladle about 1/2 cup of warm broth into the rice and stir and allow the broth to be absorbed (when you form a channel with the spoon the rice will slowly refill it).

    5. Continue ladling, stirring and absorbing broth until only about 1/2-1 cup broth remains (15-20 minutes). Turn off heat. Season with salt and pepper, stir in remaining broth, pumpkin, parmesan cheese and optional half and half.

  3. Scallops:

  1. Remove scallops from fridge pat dry with a paper towel until very dry. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat oil in a cast iron on medium-high/high until hot. Sear scallops-untouched- for 2 minutes. After 1 minute, add 1/2 tbsp butter to the pan. After 2 minutes, use tongs to slip scallops. Sear an additional minute and remove from pan.

  3. Serve with a large base of risotto topped with seared scallops.

  4. Garnish with additional parmesan and fresh parsley.


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Nutrition Facts are provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used. Nutrition facts provided for seared scallops and pumpkin risotto separately for convenience!


Recipe Link
Nutrition Facts
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