Seared Scallop Risotto with Creamy Chorizo Sauce


Seared scallop risotto served with a spicy chorizo sauce. A saucy French trick how to keep risotto creamy & flavourful. Also good with prawns (shrimp) or fish and made in only 35 minutes.

creamy orange coloured rice dish on black plate topped with golden fried scallops with parsley

Quick & Easy Dinner Party Main

This creamy chorizo risotto is my trump recipe card when I haven’t had time to go shopping yet need a quick recipe that delivers the goods! It’s perhaps in my Top 20 dishes that can be made in no time – as long as there is some good chorizo in the fridge.

As chorizo keeps for a long time, it’s a handy ingredient to have in stock – that pun is totally intended! What takes this chorizo risotto to the next level, however, is the additional sauce surrounding the risotto, making it more flavourful and extra creamy.

chorizo risotto

Chorizo Risotto with Scallops, Prawns, Fish or Chicken

Not only is it so simple and great on its own, this chorizo risotto is versatile: our family favourite is with seared scallops, but try it with prawns (shrimp), fish, chicken, or just with a few greens.

Chorizo risotto is a handy and versatile recipe for a quick and rewarding family dinner – or for when friends pop in at the last minute, as the ingredients are usually always at hand in the fridge or in our cupboards – and, just for this recipe, I keep scallops or prawns in the freezer.

Why Do you Soak Scallops in Milk?

If using frozen scallops, first defrost them in some milk and water. This is to keep their plump and firm qualities. Otherwise if using fresh scallops, there’s no need.

chorizo shrimp spicy risotto

How Do I Make My Risotto Stay Creamy?

I was first introduced to a chorizo risotto many years ago in a chic restaurant in the Champagne region; it was unforgettable served with a Premier Cru Champagne. Bliss together on a special occasion! The risotto dish was so elegant, packed with flavour with spicy chorizo and the whole dish was topped with the most buttery, flaky fish on top.

Moreover, what was the French twist to the risotto? The spicy, creamy chorizo sauce was served apart. Ever since then, I have discovered the easy way to make my risottos stay creamy. The extra sauce idea is brilliant!

This sauce was so mousse-like that I’m sure the chef had prepared using a Siphon. The chorizo sausage was blitzed with no ‘bits’ in it. Personally, over time, I love chorizo bits in it – it adds to the textures. But it’s your call. Try both and see.

chorizo risotto prawns seared scallops

What Pairs Nicely with Scallops?

While the flavour combinations played in my mind, I couldn’t resist developing this simpler take on it back home. Besides, I didn’t even have a recipe!). As scallops are naturally sweet, I love the addition of spicy chorizo sausage as an interesting pairing. As a result of many tests of this dish, we love it also with prawns (shrimp). It also goes well with fish too.

Normally risotto recipes specify using a finely chopped onion but I love making this risotto with leek instead.

Gradually, I’ve tried it with white wine – great! But try it instead with a splash of French Pastis (Ricard or Casanis – all makes of aniseed liqueur). Again, this is a fabulous combination with scallops. As long as there are no Italian risotto gendarmes around, we’re fine!

how to make chorizo risotto pastis

To sear the scallops: fry over a high heat in a little butter and olive oil for about 2 minutes (no more!) on each side, depending on their size.

3 black giant bowls of creamy orange-coloured spicy risotto

Seared Scallop Risotto with Creamy Chorizo Sauce

Top with edible herb flowers or fresh parsley or scatter with a few toasted sesame seeds.

creamy orange coloured rice dish on black plate topped with golden fried scallops with parsley
5 from 4 votes

Creamy Chorizo Risotto with Leeks & Scallops

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course : Main Course
Cuisine : French, Italian
Keyword : chorizo recipes, leek risotto, creamy chorizo risotto
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 431kcal


Seared scallop risotto served with a spicy chorizo sauce. A saucy French trick how to keep risotto creamy & flavourful. Also good with prawns


Chorizo Sauce

  • 110 g (4oz) chorizo sausage medium or strong, according to taste
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 litre (1.75pints) chicken stock (or vegetable or fish, depending on accompaniment)
  • 150 ml (5fl oz) single cream (15% reduced fat or 30% full cream)


  • 1 leek or onion (medium), finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 g (9oz) risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 3 tbsp Pastis (Anis liqueur) or white wine a good splash
  • 25 g (1oz) butter salted (or unsalted and add salt)
  • 25 g (1oz) parmesan grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped (or other herbs or choice)
  • 12 fresh scallops (defrosted if frozen - see NOTES)
  • 2 pinches salt & pepper to your taste


  • First make the chorizo sauce: In a small saucepan, dry fry half of the chopped shallot with the chopped chorizo until the shallots are translucent, chorizo-coloured and there’s no fat left in the pan. Add about a quarter (250ml/9fl oz) of the stock, boil then leave to simmer until the sauce reduces by a half.
  • Make the risotto: Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the chopped leek (or onion) until translucent. Add the risotto rice and toss in the oil and leek until also translucent then add a good splash of Pastis/Ricard (or white wine).
  • As soon as the Aniseed liqueur (or wine) is absorbed, add a large ladle at a time of the remaining HOT stock and stir until the stock is well absorbed by the rice. Repeat this for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.  
  • Add the butter, parmesan, seasoning and chopped parsley. Add the cream to the chorizo sauce 5 minutes before the risotto is ready and continue to simmer. Blitz the sauce with a hand-blender if you like it smooth, otherwise keep the chorizo pieces in. Keep the sauce warm until ready to serve.
  • In a small frying pan, heat the butter just until it browns slightly and smells nutty.  Sear the scallops or prawns (3 per person) until they are just cooked - about 2 minutes on each side, depending on their size.


Serve the chorizo risotto in bowls (I like to push the risotto into large inox rings or cookie cutters to mould it into shape quickly), top with the scallops or prawns and drizzle around the chorizo sauce. Top with herb flowers or scatter over some toasted sesame seeds.
Choose either mild or strong chorizo, depending how spicy you like it.
Matching wines: Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc or Champagne.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: 431 calories per portion; 19g protein; 36g lipids.
Note on Frozen Scallops: if using frozen scallops, first defrost them in some milk and water. This is to keep their plump and firm qualities.

Looking for another delicious fish dish? Then try our favourite French Monkfish Stew, known as Lotte à L’Américaine.

This recipe was first published as Chorizo Risotto with Prawns on 7 October 2016. This post has now been updated to include a printable recipe card, updated text & photos. However, as it was previously using a strange template, I have lost all lovely comments and recipe reviews – so please give this recipe some new love! Thank you, merci.

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Comments (14)

Sounds delicious! I can’t wait to make it. Do you use cured or semi cured chorizo?

We love this dish, Helen, so hope you enjoy it too. It doesn’t matter whether it’s cured or semi-cured chorizo, as it is being cooked. I normally get the best chorizo I can at our boucherie/charcuterie (so it tends to be semi-cured) so use what your prefer.

5 stars
Well no wonder you wanted to re-make this dish at home! Looks fabulous, and I do adore scallops especially when they’re wonderfully fresh! Just made risotto last night, so we’re doing that freaky think as usual! haha! Thanks for this gorgeous recipe, Jill! Can’t wait to try it!

Thanks Christina – love a good risotto and can imagine yours being so good! I love this because the sauce is served separately and it ends up being a bit ‘bistro’!

5 stars
Remember seeing this post and I’ve made it a few times
Jill it’s a winner: that sauce is to die for!
Also loved the kick to it

Thanks so much for coming in to say so, Alison. Glad you enjoy the recipe! Yes, I love that the sauce is served separately – and it makes it all the more easy – yet Chefy spectacular too.