Scallop fra Diavolo is made with tomato sauce tossed with spaghetti and seared spicy sea scallops. Serve it as a delicious date night dinner!
I did not grow up eating scallops.
For a long time, the only thing I knew about scallops was that sometimes they showed up in my meals at Red Lobster. And that is all I knew.
A few years back, as my experience with seafood grew, and I started experimenting with different types of fish and shellfish, I grabbed some sea scallops on a whim.
And then, I fell in love.
This scallop pasta recipe is a twist on the spicy shrimp fra diavolo, and features seared and spicy sea scallops served with pasta.
What does Fra Diavolo Mean?
Fra diavolo is Italian for “devil monk,” and refers to a spicy pasta sauce or seafood.
Apparently those monk’s liked their spice. Smart fellas.
Do I Want Bay Scallops or Sea Scallops?
Bay scallops are tiny, and very difficult to sear.
For this recipe, look for the larger sea scallops.
Make sure to read the ingredient label, and avoid sea scallops with chemical additives. Chemically treated sea scallops won’t sear well.
Learn more about buying scallops, and get searing tips in this How to Pan-Sear Fish guide.
Can I Make This Gluten-Free?
Simply swap the spaghetti for gluten-free spaghetti.
How to Make Scallop Fra Diavolo
To make seared scallops, you’ll get a little butter very hot in a sauté pan.
Then, take the scallops, which you’ll have patted dry and tossed with salt and seasoning, and add them to the pan.
Make sure to leave a little room around each scallop when you set them in the pan– if they’re too close to each other, the liquid from the scallops will prevent a good sear.
Cook the scallops for about 2 minutes and flip, and then another 2 minutes.
Serve your scallops with tomato sauce and a pasta of your choice, and dig in!
Scallop Fra Diavolo
- 7 oz sea scallops (3-5 per person, depending on the size of scallops) dry-packed, no chemical additives* (See Recipe Notes)
- 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
- 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.