Scallops & Pasta

My parents recently visited Crystal River, Florida and brought back some sweet little bay scallops to share. Here’s my recipe for a spicy, creamy, bright, and balanced pasta that highlights the star of the dish, scallops.


  • 16 ounces linguine pasta
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 pounds scallops
  • 2 tablespoons, butter
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 tomatoes on the vine, cut in wedges
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust more or less to your spice preference)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 10 fresh basil leaves (about 4 tablespoons), chopped
  1. Cook pasta per directions on the box. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water before draining.
  2. While pasta is cooking, prepare the scallops by shucking and cleaning them if they are still in the shell.
  3. Rinse the scallops in cold water and lay on a towel lined cookie sheet. Using another towel, pat the scallops dry. Dry scallops give you a nice sear.
  4. Pour 3 tablespoons of oil into a hot pan and lightly sprinkle salt on the scallops. Do not salt scallops ahead of time as salt will draw out liquid and your scallops won’t be dry when they go in the pan.
  5. Add scallops to hot oil and sear to add some color. Cook until scallops are no longer translucent, being careful not to overcook. (Bay scallops are small so they took about 30 seconds per side. Sea scallops will take about 1 ½ minutes each side, depending on size.) Remove scallops from heat and set aside.
  6. Lower heat to medium and in the same pan, add butter. Once melted add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  7. Add tomatoes and drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil into the pan. Allow the tomatoes to cook into liquid so that you can start to deglaze the pan, about 5-7 minutes. You can see in the pictures above, the tomatoes are starting to deglaze the brown bits left behind from the scallops.
  8. Continue to cook tomatoes for another 5 minutes or until tomatoes can be easily smashed with the back of your wooden spoon or spatula.
  9. Pour in chicken stock (you can replace with seafood stock), pasta liquid, and lemon juice. Stir to blend with tomato sauce.
  10. Add 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, garlic powder, red pepper flakes to pan. Stir and cook for 4 minutes.
  11. Add basil and cook for another 2 minutes.
  12. Blend sauce using an immersion blender or pour into regular blender then add back into the pan.
  13. Add pasta to the sauce and toss until pasta is coated.
  14. Plate pasta and top with seared scallops. If preferred, garnish with fresh basil leaves and lemon wedge.