These Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta is an easy and quick Date Night dinner, featuring sea scallops tossed in spices and seared to perfection!
Do you love pasta? Do you love seafood? If you haven’t been combining them to make quick, delicious dinners– this recipe for Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta could revolutionize your dinner routine. (Okay maybe not, but it’s seriously quite tasty. And fast. And did I mention tasty?). The Italians, of course, are onto something with all the seafood and pasta dishes filling their kitchens and dinner plates. Let’s join them!
Scallops are flavorful, easy to prepare, and don’t require shelling like shrimp.* When you’re shopping for scallops– look for dry scallops. If they aren’t labeled, there’s a decent chance that you’re buying wet scallops. Wet scallops have been soaked in a phosphate bath– adding extra chemicals to the scallops to make them plumper. Not only do the chemicals alter the taste, but since scallops are sold by weight, you’re also paying for the extra chemical-water.
Making Spicy Seared Sea Scallops
To make seared scallops, you’ll get a little butter very hot in a sauté pan. Get it very, very, hot. Then you’ll take the scallops, which you’ll have patted dry and tossed with salt and seasoning, and add them to the pan. Cook the scallops for about 2 minutes and flip, and then another 2 minutes.
Next, serve the scallops with some fast and easy Red Wine Pasta Sauce, or use a pre-made red sauce. If your sauce is pre-made, avoid sweet red sauces that will clash with the spicy scallops, and stick to basic vegetable or spicy sauces. Use the pasta of your choice, and dig in! If you start the pasta and pasta sauce, and then begin working on the scallops, your whole meal should be ready in about 15 minutes.
*Note: Scallops typically come pre-shelled, but are, most definitely, still a shellfish. Don’t eat them if you’re allergic to other shellfish.
Also Note: Traditionally, Italians do not use cheese on seafood pastas. Now, rules are meant to be broken, but even the most Parmesan addicted eaters may want to give this dish a taste BEFORE piling on the cheese. It’s delicious without it.
Spicy Seared Scallops
- 7 oz sea scallops (3-5 per person, depending on the size of scallops) dry-packed, no chemical additives
- 1 TB butter
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
- ~1-2 tsp salt
- 1 TB olive oil
- 2 cups tomato sauce* (See Recipe Notes)
- 4 oz spaghetti (~2 cups cooked)
- 6-8 leaves fresh basil, chopped (optional)
Begin cooking pasta according to package directions.
If making homemade pasta sauce (like this Red Wine Sauce), begin preparing it. Otherwise, start heating up pre-made sauce.
About 2 minutes BEFORE the pasta should be done cooking, pull it out of the water, shaking off excess water, and add it to the pasta sauce. Toss to coat the pasta, and let it finish cooking in the sauce over medium heat. Turn off the heat, cover pasta with a lid to keep it warm, and set pasta aside.
Heat butter and oil in a heavy-bottom pan on high heat and allow to melt, but not brown. If butter starts to brown or smoke, lower heat slightly.
Pat scallops dry (they won't sear properly if they're still damp). Toss with a little salt, the red pepper flakes, and cayenne.
Add scallops to the pan, and let them sit on one side for 2 minutes per side, until each side is golden brown.
Divide pasta between two plates, and then divide the scallops between the dishes (3-5 per plate). Garnish with fresh basil if desired. Serve immediately.
Follow link for Red Wine Pasta Sauce recipe
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal, and assume that the Red Wine Pasta Sauce from this site was used. Pasta calories are not included.