A while ago I blogged about a special, romantic dinner for no particular reason other than…. it was Wednesday!  This is another example of a meal to brighten up any frantic week, and make the evening feel unique and special.   Phil was busy doing some carpentry work while I cooked, so he had no idea what would be on our menu. When I announced  (as casually as I could) that dinner was served, he was in complete awe…
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

10 sea scallops, preferably “dry”
salt and pepper
black spaghetti (squid ink)
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 minced shallot
zest of 1 orange
1 to 2 Tbs orange juice
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
dash of nutmeg
fresh parsley leaves, minced

Put a large pot of salted water to boil.   Pat the scallops dry, and place them over paper towels to make sure any excess moisture is blotted out.  Reserve.

On a medium size skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the shallots, seasoning lightly with salt and black pepper.  When they are  soft and getting a light color, add the orange zest.  Saute for 1 minute, turn the heat off and close the pan.

Start cooking the black spaghetti, the amount you would normally make for you and your lucky partner. Depending on the thickness of the pasta and the brand, it should take about 8 minutes.   While the pasta cooks,  heat a skillet on high heat, add a smidgen of olive oil, and once the oil is very hot, pat dry the scallops once more, season them with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of sugar.   Sear the scallops about 2 minutes per side, making sure the pan is not too crowded.  Don’t touch them as they cook, they will release from the pan once a nice golden crust is formed.  Reserve (or place in a very low oven – 200 F) to keep them warm).

As the scallops cook, finish the sauce.   Heat the orange/shallot mixture,  add 1/4 cup of heavy cream, season with a dash of nutmeg.  Add 1/8 cup of orange juice and warm the sauce swirling the pan gently over medium low heat.

Once the pasta is cooked, remove a small amount of the cooking liquid, add the pasta to the orange-cream sauce,  add some of the pasta water if necessary to thin the sauce.   Sprinkle fresh parsley over the dish, and serve with the cooked scallops on top.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Black pasta is made by incorporating squid ink in the dough, so I like to serve it with seafood. It can be a bit tricky to pair with a sauce, but I opted for a mild, creamy sauce with a citric component.  It worked very well.

This is a quick meal to put together, but it could seem a little rushed, as everything must come to a glorious end at the same time.  If you feel insecure about multi-tasking, consider making the orange cream sauce before you do anything else.   Start boiling the pasta, and sear the scallops when the pasta is midway through cooking.    All you have to do is re-warm the orange sauce quickly, incorporate with the pasta and dinner is served!  A salad to round out the meal, and you are ready to celebrate the fact that it’s Wednesday, and you love the person sitting across from you…  😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Stir-fried Chicken with Creamed Corn

TWO YEARS AGO: Potato, Cheddar and Chive Torpedo (this bread is a complete winner!)

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25 thoughts on “BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL

    • It was perfect the way it happened – I managed to hide all evidence of our menu, by defrosting the scallops hidden under the drawer of the fridge, and since hubby was away from the kitchen, he did not see the bag of black pasta (that would have been a give away of special meal ahead… 😉


  1. This looks beyond delicious! I love that you’re making these random “date” night dinners. Very romantic. 🙂 I was planning a scallop dish for Mike soon here too. I think I might incorporate your sauce into the dish. Yum!


  2. Another fan of your “impromptu romantic meals” – I’ve been trying to do that myself, and it’s amazing how it does improve the week!

    I even lit some candles last week, so you see? You are a very good influence! 😉


  3. Several years ago I started cooking my large scallops only on one side. I pull them off the stove and allow the residual heat to bring the entire thing up to temp (to the temp I like, anyway). This also gives me some leeway to put a topping on the scallop when it begins cooking without fear of the flesh getting tough if I waited to flip it.

    On the other hand I eat wallpaper paste. So my taste may not be a good barometer of what constitutes a desirable cooking technique.

    I do like the idea of the orange flavoring though. One of the best dishes I ever had was a plate of bay (tiny) scallops in a Cointreau sauce at “At the Sign of the Dove” in Manhattan years ago. I’d almost forgotten about that til I read your entry here. I think I’ll try it!

    Without flipping them 😉


  4. Oh, Sally… when you left a comment on my blog referring to your orange cream sauce I was so intrigued… and here it is and it looks gorgeous! You know I love scallops and the black pasta is just utterly cool ;). What a fabulous, full flavoured dish and I would be in awe too if someone presented it to me!

    You’ll have to pull this one out again at Halloween! ;).


  5. Oh wow!! This is amazing! Not only does it look great, but the flavor combination! (I can only imagine it – I’ve never had black pasta, or scallops, for that matter, but it sounds great!!)


  6. Yum!! Your photo is exquisite and your dish sounds divine. At our house we celebrate Thursdays because the Brit teaches on Wednesdays. Last night we had a chili and cocoa crusted rack of lamb with a strawberry balsamic sauce in celebration of the fact that Colin doesn’t teach again until Monday night. So now that you know our schedule, you know that I am available next Wednesday! You should also know that I am a lot of fun and I never come empty handed!! Have a great weekend.


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