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scallop pasta with sun-dried tomatoes
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Creamy Mozzarella Scallop Pasta

Creamy Mozzarella Scallop Pasta is one of the best scallop recipes you'll ever try!  The pasta cream sauce is made with Mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes.  Finger-licking good, easy-to-make, and your scallops will have the perfect texture!  
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword scallop pasta, scallops
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 655kcal
Author Julia

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free version, use gluten free brown rice pasta)

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes , without oil
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded (do not use fresh Mozzarella, use pre-shredded Mozzarella)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil , if using fresh basil you can add more
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes , crushed, add more to taste
  • teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup reserved cooked pasta water or more
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Scallops

  • 1 pound scallops , medium size, about 12-14 scallops, thawed completely if frozen
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

Prepare scallops:

  • If using frozen scallops, make sure the scallops are thawed completely.
  • Blot each scallop with paper towels to remove extra water.  Set them aside on a plate while you prepare the pasta and the sauce.  You will cook scallops last to make sure they are not over-cooked.  

Pasta:

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain the pasta.

Sauce:

  • Note: if using sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them. 
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil (you can use the reserved olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar, or use regular olive oil) in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil and sliced into smaller chunks, if needed) and minced garlic, and saute on medium heat, stirring, for 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. The skillet should be hot.
  • Add half and half to the hot skillet with sun-dried tomatoes and bring to boil. Add shredded cheese to the skillet, and stir in while boiling. Immediately reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all the cheese melts and the creamy sauce forms. If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of half and half or reserved cooked pasta water. Add basil, crushed red pepper flakes, paprika. Stir.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon of salt gradually, stirring on low heat and tasting (you might need slightly less than ¼ teaspoon).
  • Add cooked pasta to the sauce, and reheat gently on medium heat.  Taste, and add more salt, if needed. Add a small amount of half and half or reserved cooked pasta water, if the sauce is too thick. Let everything simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.

Cook scallops:

  • Season with salt by sprinkling each scallop with a dash of salt.
  • Use a large, non-stick skillet (I used stainless steel skillet which works well for me as non-stick). Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in this non-stick skillet on high heat until hot but not smoking. Oil should not be smoking, just rolling easily around the skillet.
  • Add scallops without overcrowding the pan. Sear on one side for about 3-4 minutes until the bottom is nice golden color. Don't move the scallops around the pan in the beginning.
  • Turn the scallops to the other side and cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat and transfer the scallops to the plate immediately. Don't let the scallops sit in the hot skillet, off heat, because they will start to steam, lose their crust and harden up.
  • Add cooked scallops to the pasta and the cream sauce and reheat gently. Serve.
  • Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.

Video

Notes

  • What is half-and-half? To make 1 cup of half and half do this:  combine ½ cup milk and ½ cup heavy, or whipping cream.
  • Do not use fresh Mozzarella. Fresh Mozzarella is usually sold as a large ball or small balls in a brine or water solution.    Do not shred fresh Mozzarella.  Use Part-Skim, Low-Moisture Mozzarella cheese sold in blocks or pre-shredded.

Nutrition

Calories: 655kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 1014mg | Potassium: 1468mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 720IU | Vitamin C: 12.6mg | Calcium: 283mg | Iron: 4.8mg