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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.

Scallops with Pasta served on a white plate

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, Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta or, even simpler, Pasta Aglio e Olio or Lemon Garlic Pasta 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 recipe, Scallop Crudo and these Bacon Wrapped Scallops too. They may become lazy weeknight dinners in your house too.

Seared Scallops with Pasta

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 28 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Calories: 571
Servings: 2 people
Believe it or not, you can make this delicious dinner for two in about 20 minutes!


  • 6 ounces rotini or other short pasta such as penne or strozzapreti
  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Meyer lemon juice and zest (or regular lemon)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 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.


Calories: 571kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 497mg | Potassium: 715mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2211IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. ChopinandMysaucepan says:

    Dear Marissa,

    Those scallops look beautifully seared and such a simple yet tasty recipe too!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you! Yes, simple and so good.