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"In Italy, Christmas Eve is the most important day, and it’s the day the family comes together. The traditional feast is called La Vigilia, where we abstain from meat but eat a lot of fish and cheese", says chef Valentina Harris. "You need patience to make a proper risotto: be sure to take your time and don’t stop stirring. We Italians say ‘rice, which is born in water, must die in wine’, so enjoy it with a glass!" See method
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Put the saffron in a small bowl with 3 tbsp hot stock; set aside for 20 mins.
Meanwhile, rinse the scallops briefly under cold water, then drain and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Melt 20g butter in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat and fry the shallots for 6 mins until softened but not browned. Add the rice and cook for 3-4 mins, stirring frequently, until the grains turn translucent around the edges.
Pour in the wine and bubble for 2 mins to evaporate. Add the saffron and its liquid and 2 ladles of stock. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed, stirring frequently – when you can draw a clean line through the rice with the spoon, add another 2 ladles of stock. Repeat for about 20 mins until the rice is just cooked but still a little al dente in the centre.
Stir in most of the parsley, season to taste and add any remaining stock. Cook for 3-4 mins further until the rice is creamy and tender but just firm to the bite.
Meanwhile, melt 40g butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter has stopped foaming, add the scallops in a single layer and cook for 1-2 mins, without moving, until lightly browned on one side. Shake the pan and cook for 1-2 mins more until the scallops are lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from the heat and season.
Gently stir the remaining 20g butter, two-thirds of the scallops and any scallop juices into the rice. Cover the pan and set aside for 4 mins to rest.
Stir again, then spoon into bowls and top with the remaining scallops and parsley to serve.
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