Seared Scallop Pasta with Bacon and Broccoli

2 bowls of scallop bacon pasta with two glasses of wine

Seared Scallop Pasta with Bacon and Broccoli sounds like a lot.

Well, it is.

In fact, this is one of those scallop recipes that appeals to those who may not even like the bivalve, since there is so much else going on in the pot. Succulent, sweet seared scallops mingle with garlic, onion, and a splash of white wine. Broccoli joins the skillet until it’s bright green and crisp-tender, then the whole thing gets tossed with al dente pasta, salted butter, and lots of crispy bacon.

Too much?

Scallop and bacon recipes— that perfect combination of mild and tender with meaty and crisp— are not meant to be subtle. Speckled with red and green and studded with caramelized bits of seafood, scallop bacon pasta offers plenty of intrigue in each bite.

Which in this case, is just the right amount.

one bowl of scallop bacon pasta with silver fork

How to cook perfect seared scallops on the stovetop

  • First, make sure your thawed scallops are as dry as possible. Use paper towels or a clean dish towel to pat them dry.
  • Heat enough olive oil in the skillet to cover the bottom (about 2 Tbsp. for a 12-inch skillet).
  • Heat the oil over medium heat until it looks shiny and like it has thinned out, about 3 minutes. It should sizzle if a drop of water hits the oil, but it should not be smoking.
  • Season the scallops with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Add them to the skillet, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Work in batches if necessary.
  • Cook until one side is deep golden-brown and releases easily from the skillet, 3-4 minutes, or up to 5 minutes if your scallops are very large.
  • Sear scallops on the other side until cooked through, about 2 more minutes. For the best flavor, you only need to get one side nice and golden-brown. Cooking both sides until golden-brown might risk over-cooking the scallops.
  • For scallop bacon pasta, allow scallops to cool slightly before cutting in half or quarters and adding to the pasta. For other scallop recipes, enjoy them right away; best served hot!

How to make scallop bacon pasta with broccoli

seared scallops in a skillet

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Working in batches, cook scallops until golden brown on one side, 3-5 minutes for the first side, 1-2 minutes for the second side. Transfer to a plate or cutting board, repeat with any remaining scallops. Once cooled slightly, chop cooked scallops into large bite-sized pieces.

onions and garlic in skillet with white wine

To the now-empty skillet, add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until very fragrant and softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the wine, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until about half of the liquid evaporates, 3-5 minutes.

steamed broccoli in a skillet with onions, garlic, and white wine

To the skillet with the onion/garlic mixture, add the broccoli, season with salt, toss, cover the skillet, and cook until the broccoli is bright green and just barely tender, about 5 minutes.

pasta in a pot with broccoli, seared scallops, bacon, and parsley

Combine the scallops and broccoli mixture in a pot with pasta; add bacon, parsley, and fresh lemon juice.

What to serve with scallops and broccoli pasta

One of the best things about this dinner is that it doesn’t really need a side dish recipe. Protein, vegetables, and carbs perfectly coexist in one pot. So I’d say the best side is another bowl of pasta, but a super simple salad would also do the trick. Just toss washed lettuce, arugula, or spinach with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Then, pile it on a plate with the pasta, or nudge the pasta to the side of your bowl and stuff some greens in there right next to it. 

More perfectly plentiful pasta recipes:

Seared Scallop Pasta with Bacon and Broccoli

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Dinner American
By Samantha Serves: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Succulent seared scallops and bacon pasta with tons of broccoli makes a delicious one pot dinner that has so much going on, it doesn’t even need a side.

Ingredients

  • 6 strips cooked crispy bacon, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 lb. scallops
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb. farfalle or other short pasta
  • 4 Tbsp. cold salted butter, cut into pieces
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley or basil, optional
  • Red pepper flakes, for serving

Instructions

1

First, take note that this recipe calls for 6 strips of crispy cooked bacon. I suggest enlisting a family member to tend to the bacon (microwaving it is totally acceptable) while you start the recipe.

2

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once it comes to a bowl, turn the heat to low and keep it warm until it’s ready for the pasta.

3

Remove the small muscle attached to the side of the scallop (not all scallops will have one). Pat the scallops dry, season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large (10 or 12-inch) skillet over medium until just beginning to shimmer. Working in batches, cook scallops, undisturbed, until golden brown on both sides, 3-5 minutes for the first side, 1-2 minutes for the second side (cooking time will vary based on the size of the scallops). Transfer to a plate or cutting board, repeat with any remaining scallops. Once cooled slightly, chop cooked scallops into large bite-sized pieces (halved or quartered, depending on size).

4

Scrape any browned bits from the skillet using a wooden spoon and transfer to the plate or cutting board with the scallops. Turn the heat to medium-low. To the now-empty skillet, add onion and garlic (and a drizzle of olive oil if the pan seems dry). Season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until very fragrant and softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the wine, if using, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until about half of the liquid evaporates, 5 minutes.

5

At this point, bring the pasta water back to a boil and add the pasta. Set a timer and cook for 1 minute less than package directions. Just before draining, scoop out ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

6

To the skillet with the onion/garlic mixture, add the broccoli, season with salt and pepper, toss, cover the skillet, and cook until the broccoli is bright green and just barely tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Taste the broccoli mixture and season as necessary.

7

Stir the 1/2 cup of pasta cooking liquid into the pot with the drained pasta, along with the cold butter. Stir vigorously until the butter coats the pasta and looks glossy. Stir in the broccoli mixture, scallops, and bacon, followed by the lemon zest and juice. Taste and add salt as needed; sprinkle in the parsley or basil if using.

8

Serve, topping each portion with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (if you like the heat) and a drizzle of olive oil.

Notes

Use shrimp if you don’t like scallops, or try this recipe with baby spinach instead of broccoli.

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