Scallops, often thought of as a luxury product, are now readily accessible in most freezer cases and a lightning-fast way to boost the protein of a simple pasta meal without the need for cheese. This recipe, inspired by one from the Martha Stewart website, calls for either the thimble-size bay scallops, or the larger sea scallops cut in half. Their mild taste readily melds with the bold flavors of fresh garlic and tomatoes sauteed in heart-healthy olive oil and whatever herbs you have handy. Serves 4. – Susan Puckett
- 8 ounces of whole-grain pasta
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 or 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 pound bay scallops (or sea scallops, cut in half and tough side muscles removed), patted dry
- 1-pint grape or cherry tomatoes
- Freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, flat-leaf parsley, mint, or a combination
- In a large pot of boiling water seasoned generously with salt, add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water.
- While preparing the pasta, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and sauté just until lightly golden, a minute or less, taking care not to burn. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Add the scallops and sauté just until lightly golden on both sides, about 2 minutes, and transfer to a plate. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the skins begin to split, 2 to 3 minutes. Crush the tomatoes with the back of a spoon and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add the reserved scallops, cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, half the herbs, and butter. Toss to combine and melt the butter. Divide among bowls, garnish with reserved garlic and parsley and serve.
Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.
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