Tomato basil orzo with scallops and feta cheesePrint This
- 1 cup dry orzo
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 cup chicken broth (optional)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 oz feta cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tbsp butter
- 8 scallops
- salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, pour in water and chicken broth and add orzo (if you don’t have chicken broth, then you can sub water for the same amount, I would just add a couple tsp of salt if you do). Heat over high. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, so it simmers and cover the pot for about 10 min.
While that’s cooking, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a medium-large skillet. Add in pine nuts and stir around till the pine nuts turn dark brown (about 4 minutes for me). You’ll notice because it’ll start to smell amazing! Scoop the pine nuts out and put on a paper towel, you can leave the remaining oil in the pan.
Add another tbsp of olive oil and swirl around the pan. Next, add in the minced garlic and stir around in the oil for about 30 secs to a minute till is gets fragrant (I think this helps infuse the garlic into the oil more…I always grew up doing this first but not exactly sure why!). Add in the tomatoes and stir around till they get evenly coated. Cook for about 6-8 min.
While your tomatoes are cooking, get a small bowl and pour the remaining olive oil in there. Add in red wine vinegar, chopped basil, and feta. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix around and set aside.
Now is also a good time to take out your scallops and prep them. All you need to do is put them on a paper towel and pat them dry on both sides. Then sprinkle each side with a little salt and pepper. Sometimes you’ll see little “feet” on the scallops. They’re little excess parts of the scallop mussel that easily peel off. This article has a visual if you need some extra info. Take the excess feet off. Set your scallops aside.
At this point, your orzo should be about done. You can grab a little bit in a spoon and taste test. When it’s done, pour over a strainer to drain the excess liquid. Then pour the orzo into the skillet where the tomatoes and garlic are. Add in the dressing/basil mixture and stir to evenly coat. Turn the skillet to low to keep the mixture warm.
Finally, heat a separate medium skillet over medium heat for about a minute (you want it to get hot before you add your butter). Add the butter and swirl to coat the skillet (note: if the butter immediately starts smoking a lot then your pan is too hot, reduce your heat and remove from the burner for a couple of minutes to cool down and try again). The butter should bubble (and steam a little!) and if a drop of water were to fall on the pan it would sizzle but the butter shouldn’t immediately smoke a lot. Arrange the scallops in the pan., remembering where your first scallop is! To remember, I place my scallops in clockwise order so that I know which one was first.
Let the scallops cook on each side for about 3 min. When you flip them, they could be golden brown on the bottom. To help achieve the golden-brown crust, don’t move them while they cook on each side.
When you’re done, serve the scallops over the orzo/tomato mixture in a bowl. Add the pine nuts on top for a perfect crunch!