To avoid getting take-out too often, we keep our favorite kitchen staples around: fresh fruits and vegetables (whatever is in season), dried pasta, jars of pasta sauce, cans of tuna, eggs, a few kinds of cheese, lemons, onions, garlic, and, as you’ve guessed, scallops to make Seared Scallops with Pasta.
The first time I made seared scallops, I couldn’t believe that something that tasted so good and looked so elegant could be so easy. And when I say easy, I mean less than 5 minutes before you’re transferring them from the pan to your plate. When I’m looking for a lazy weeknight dinner, it’s often this Scallops with Pasta dish or, even simpler, Pasta Aglio e Olio which can be topped with pan seared scallops too!
We keep scallops in the freezer and when I’m planning to make this dish, I try to remember to thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. When I forget (often), it still only takes about 20 minutes to thaw them in the sink. And, if I’m really in a hurry, I coax them along by rinsing with water.
If you love scallops, but hadn’t considered making them at home, I hope you’ll try this and these Bacon Wrapped Scallops too. They may become lazy weeknight dinners in your house too.
Seared Scallops with Pasta
- 6 ounces short pasta such as rotini penne or strozzapreti
- 5 ounces baby arugula
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- juice and zest on one Meyer lemon
- fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 large sea scallops
If needed, remove the foot from each scallop then pat dry and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is done, stir in the arugula and drain immediately (this will wilt the arugula just enough).
To sear the scallops, In a skillet or cast iron pan, heat one tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat until very hot. Add scallops, leaving an inch of space around each one. Sear for two minutes on one side; flip, and sear for 2 minutes on the second side. Each side of the scallop should be golden brown and the sides opaque.
Meanwhile, melt the other two tablespoons of butter in the pan you used to cook the pasta. Add garlic; cook and stir just until fragrant. Add lemon zest and juice; stir until combined. Add pasta and arugula and stir to coat; season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Divide pasta mixture between two plates. Top each with 4 scallops and serve.