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This week we went in the kitchen at Cafe Baci with owner Roberto Mei and chef Eldis Rodriguez as they prepare tomato risotto with pan seared diver scallops.
Mei comes from a background in family run restaurants, in both Rome and New York City, and he moved to Sarasota to open Cafe Baci in 1991.
Cafe Baci offers a menu of classic Italian dishes with specialties in Roman and Tuscan cuisine. The chefs also prepare several special menu items that change daily. All of the dishes are prepared from homemade ingredients including fresh pastas, breads and house butchered meats and fish.
Guests at Cafe Baci may host dinner parties and events in one of the two large banquet rooms, and the in-house wine cellar features a diverse selection of international varietals.
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Scroll down for an instructional video on how to prepare the dish.
Tomato risotto with seared diver scallops
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup Spanish onion, chopped
1 cup Carnaroli rice
1/4 cup white wine
2 3/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
4 diver scallops
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in pan. Add onion and saute until soft and transparent. Add rice to pan and saute for 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add chicken stock one 1/4 cup at a time while continuously stirring. Do not allow the rice to stick to the pan. Continue to add stock and stir making sure not to drown the rice. When about 6 ounces of stock remains, add chopped tomatoes while stirring. Continue adding the remaining stock and stirring until rice has reached a thick and creamy consistency. Stir in parmesan cheese and butter. Remove pan from heat and let rest.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in pan. Season scallops with salt and pepper to taste. Add scallops to pan and sear to lightly golden brown carmeliztaion. Turn scallops in pan to sear both sides.
Stir risotto and plate. Top with seared scallops. Sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley. Serve immediately while hot. Buon appitito!
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