Author Notes: Fennel and seafood is a favorite combination. The subtle flavors of the fennel do not compete with the fish or shellfish. The rice pasta is like a risotto, but even easier and quicker to prepare. Feathery fennel fronds and spicy fennel seeds compliment their source and make a fine finish for the scallops. —dymnyno
2 large fennel bulbs (about 2 pounds), reserve the feathery fronds
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 to 2 cups water
2 cups orzo pasta
3/4 cup shallots, medium dice
1 1/2 pounds Dayboat scallops
1 tablespoon Wondra flour
4 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons butter, pus 1 for sauteing scallops
4 tablespoons toasted fennel seeds
- Braise the fennel: Cut the fennel into large pieces.(cut in half, then again). Brown the fennel and garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil.
- Add 1 to 2 cups water and cover and braise in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
- Remove and cut into 1 inch chunks.
- For the orzo: Melt 3 tablespoons butter, add the shallots and saute until they are translucent. Add the orzo and mix to coat with butter. Then add 4 cups of chicken stock and cook until al dente
- For the scallops: Dust the scallops in a little Wondra and saute in a tablespoon of butter until slightly browned and completely cooked. You will turn them over once during sauteeing.
- Chop the fennel fronds
- To assemble: Mix 4 tablespoons Parmesan into the orzo.
- Pour the orzo onto a serving plater and arrange the sauteed scallops on the orzo.
- Arrange the fennel fronds around and under the scallops and sprinkle toasted fennel seeds over the dish.
- Pass extra Parmesan and toasted fennel seeds.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Seafood Pasta