Bay scallops are in season for a short time in the winter and when they’re around, I like to make them often. They’re small and succulent, and I prefer to cook them in a moist medium rather than just searing them in oil.
This is my take on linguini with clam sauce, using scallops, instead of clams. When I worked with Mario, we used to make clam sauce with pancetta, onions, garlic, butter, white wine and chili flakes. Here, I’m omitting the pancetta because the bay scallops are very delicate and I don’t want to overpower them with pancetta. Otherwise, the preparation of my scallops is very similar to the clam sauce we used to make at Po.
This is one of those dishes that can be cooked in the time it takes the pasta to boil. First I sear the scallops in a combination of oil and butter, then remove them and set aside. I proceed to make the sauce in the same skillet by adding garlic, onion, chili flakes and white wine. Reduce, and return the scallops to the skillet, add a bunch of chopped parsley, and the cooked pasta and saute for a minute. The scallops add their sweetness to the sauce and although they’re small, they’re much meatier than clams. If I make the dish with large sea scallops, I cut them into small pieces before adding them to the dish.
Linguini with Scallops
1 lb bay scallops, dried with a towel
6 tbl olive oil
2 tbl butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1/2 small onion, diced finely
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 lb dried linguini
salt and pepper
1/8 tsp chili flakes (if desired)
Place linguini in boiling salted water, then begin making the sauce.
Heat 4 tbl oil and 1 tbl butter in large skillet. Add scallops and saute on high heat for about 2 minutes or until they just begin to take on a golden color, then remove them and set aside–better to remove them too quickly than to let them overcook–it’s not so important that they become too golden for this dish.
Add another tablespoon oil. Add onions and garlic and saute on medium heat for 2 minutes, then add chili flakes (if using). Add wine and reduce by half. Taste and add salt and black pepper.
When pasta is almost cooked, add the scallops back to the skillet, along with the parsley, remaining butter and the pasta, along with a half-cup of pasta cooking water. Cook on high heat, stirring and tossing. the remaining olive oil off the heat, just before serving.
Drizzle the remaining olive oil off the heat and serve immediately.