Seared Scallops with Pineapple-Basil Risotto

Grab a taste of the tropics with this breezy Pineapple-Basil Risotto. Topped with meaty, seared scallops, it’s a big impact entree you can make with low impact effort. It’s summer, remember?

Don’t stand at the stove stirring! Use your Instant Pot and set as directed below, or if you have a Multi-Cooker with a risotto setting, you can just push “risotto” and go. Pineapple juice adds an unexpected, and surprisingly good, element. Serve Parmesan on the side so that everyone can try first before adding it. 

I used economical Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base for the broth called for in this recipe. Keeping this concentrated base stocked in your fridge means that you have broth on hand at all times and eliminates the food waste that can happen when you open a container of broth and don’t use all of it. You can stir it into soups and stews, or use it to add depth and flavor when quickly seasoning vegetables.

Scallops are a perfect protein. They defrost fast and cook quickly, letting you pretty much forget about dinner until the very last moment and still serve up a serious meal at a fraction of what you’d pay out. Keep some in your freezer so you can cook at home, turn out something restaurant worthy, and save money. The recipe below serves 4. Adjust accordingly, or you can gently rewarm and have yourself another night off. I eyeballed the portion sizes and used 12 ounces of scallops, rather than 16, and still had plenty for dinner, plus leftovers. All of the scallops fit perfectly in my largest cast iron skillet so I was able to cook them quickly in one batch. 

Sweet pineapple, aromatic basil, caramelized scallops. Try it! 

Seared Scallops with Pineapple-Basil Risotto

  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 pound sea scallops 
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 3 Tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Set a 6-qt Instant Pot to high sauté setting and add butter. As butter melts add onion and cook, stirring often, until onions soften and become translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Quickly stir in garlic, then add Arborio rice; cook and stir for about 1 minute to coat. Stir in pineapple juice and vegetable broth. Secure lid. Select manual setting; adjust pressure to high, and set time for 6 minutes. When finished cooking, quick-release pressure. Remove lid and stir. Cover and set aside while you cook scallops.

Pat scallops dry, then season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a medium skillet set over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add scallops and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Flip scallops once, then tilt skillet to baste them with additional oil. Continue to cook another minute until scallops are no longer translucent. 

Divide risotto among serving plates and top with scallops. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

-adapted from recipe by Kelly Senyei on  

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

Scroll to top