Treat yourself to sweet buttery scallops and tender roast asparagus on a bed of creamy cheesy pasta.
Today I’m sharing a great winter-to-spring transition dish. With asparagus, peas, and lemon, this dinner has a fresh spring vibe to it, but with cheesy creamy pasta, it’s also very hearty and comforting, more like a winter dish. (By the way, my Cod with New England Clam Chowder Sauce is a similar kind of dish that’s good in any season.)
I’m well aware it’s not locally grown, but my supermarket has had beautiful asparagus lately. Even though I like winter, it has me thinking ahead to fresh spring foods.
I love scallops. They have such a sweet, buttery, rich taste, and it’s one kind of shellfish I’m not allergic to (at least not yet). But, they are expensive. It’s especially disappointing ordering them at a restaurant, where you usually get all of three scallops. But even buying them from the grocery store, they’re definitely not a cheap option. That’s one reason I made this recipe to feed only two, although you could easily adjust it to your needs.
If you can’t get fresh scallops where you live or just want to keep your grocery bill down, salmon would also be a good option. I made this same pasta before with pan-seared salmon and another time with a plain baked salmon. I really think it pairs well with any type of seafood.
If you’re using scallops, you need to buy them the same day you’re going to cook them. Scallops also don’t taste as good leftover. Supposedly. I reheated mine in the same cast iron pan I used to cook them after taking photos, and they were still so delicious, I doubt they could have tasted better. But generally you want to eat them right after cooking.
Here are the main ingredients. There are sea scallops, asparagus, whole wheat linguine, lemon, minced garlic, frozen peas, shaved parmesan, mascarpone cheese, and white wine. I prefer whole wheat pasta because it doesn’t make me go into a food coma like regular pasta, and I’ve converted Jonathan too. You can obviously use white pasta, gluten-free pasta, or any kind of long-cut pasta you like.
Look at how pretty the roast asparagus are. It’s nature’s ombré!
After the pasta and sauce is done, the last step is searing the scallops.
Just writing this post is making me want to go out and buy scallops right now to cook tonight!
Finish with a squeeze of lemon.
Make this for your next special dinner. You won’t regret it!
Scallops with Roast Asparagus and Creamy Pasta
- 5 ounces whole wheat linguini
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), ends trimmed
- salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup shaved or shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 12 ounces sea scallops
- lemon wedges for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook linguini according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water before draining.
Meanwhile, season asparagus with salt and pepper. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place on a baking pan. Roast for 10 – 15 minutes. (The time will depend on how thin or thick your asparagus are. Thicker asparagus will need 15 minutes.)
When pasta is finished cooking, leave the pasta in the colander you used to drain it. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot used to cook the pasta. Heat over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add wine. Cook for 3 more minutes. Turn heat to medium-low. Add mascarpone, parmesan, and butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter and mascarpone are all melted. Add a few splashes of reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce and mix well. Add peas and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Return the pasta to the pot and mix all together with the sauce. (If the pasta has cooled down a lot, you can reheat on low before serving.)
Cook the scallops last, when everything else is ready. They will be best immediately after cooking. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place scallops on the pan in a single layer. Cook for 3 minutes, until bottom is browned. Flip over and cook another 2-3 minutes.
To serve: Divide pasta and roast asparagus between 2 plates or bowls. Top each plate with half of the scallops. Serve with lemon.