Fettuccine with Scallops

This easy fettuccine with scallops and lemon gets even more extravagant thanks to a cream sauce. Perfect for a no-fail celebration of any sort.

A tangle of fettuccine with scallops finished with lemon zest and chervil on a brown plate.

We find this fettuccine with scallops to be easy as can be and exactly what you need for a no-fail romantic or celebratory supper for two. Actually, it’s also perfect for a larger number when you play with the proportions and make more for a small dinner party. Here’s how to pull it off with ease.–Renee Schettler

Fettuccine with Scallops

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 15 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 2
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil.

While the water comes to a boil, pat the scallops thoroughly dry with paper towels. If the scallops have a tough little rectangular portion on the side that’s uncharacteristically dense and hard, trim and discard it.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Let the oil get very hot but not smoking. Add the scallops and sear on both sides, turning once, until almost cooked through. Remove the scallops from the skillet but keep the skillet on the stove.

Turn the heat beneath the skillet down to medium-low and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan along with the minced shallots. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are softened and tender but do not let them brown, 2 to 4 minutes. 

Add the cream and, stirring constantly, bring it to a gentle simmer. (If your pasta is still a while from being done, remove the skillet from the heat, cover to keep warm, and then return to a gentle simmer before proceeding.) Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, chervil, and, if you feel it’s necessary, a very small ladleful of pasta water to the sauce and cook just until the sauce thickens, anywhere from 1 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the pasta and plenty of salt to the boiling water and cook until al dente. 

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the cream sauce and scallops and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pile onto plates. Originally published February 10, 2016.

Print RecipeBuy the The Four Seasons of Pasta cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Gorgeous. What a simple yet special pasta that would be perfect for lunch, brunch, or dinner. I actually made this for a midnight supper and it was perfect—not too heavy but still very cozy.

Prep took a mere 10 minutes to chop, juice, and dry a few ingredients. I used fresh pasta for this dish, and I'm so glad I did. (For the record, I never use fresh pasta, but I wanted to make this dinner stand out.) I sautéed the shallots for about 3 minutes, and once all the ingredients were added, the sauce took 3 to 4 minutes to thicken. The fresh pasta really caught all the sauce, nothing was going to waste at the bottom of the serving bowl.

I bought some beautiful scallops at the farmers' market and did not need to trim them.

I just had to make this recipe. The ingredients are all things I adore. When I couldn't find bay scallops, I was actually pleased. (Don't tell anyone.) For me, they just don't compare to sea scallops. I love a perfectly pan-seared scallop. The lovely golden brown crust, the inside tender and moist—sublime! This is definitely going to be a go-to recipe in my arsenal. It's so quick to throw together and very elegant. A treat for yourself. A treat for yourself and someone special. It would also be something nice to serve to company. You would just need to adjust the proportions, which is easy to do.

Note: The key to a perfectly seared scallop is to make sure that you wipe off all of the extra moisture from the scallops. I dry mine with multiple layers of paper towels. My scallops were seared beautifully in 2 1/2 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second side in a cast-iron skillet. I used a good imported dried pasta from Italy. We enjoyed this with Champagne. Or I should say, we enjoyed Champagne with this.


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  1. Lovely sauce! Can’t wait to try it. Please keep in mind that fresh pasta has very short cooking times, so I’d add it to the boiling water only when the sauce is ready. Fresh pasta has a tendency for 1) turning mushy in a heartbeat and 2) sticking together when drained and left to wait, undressed. So by all means, I’d advise to cook, drain, and toss it immediately. To loosen the sauce, add the reserved pasta water at the very last minute, ideally while you’re already mixing in the pasta. Just my Italian-pasta-eater’s 2 cents 😉

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