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…
SCALLOPS AND BLACK PASTA IN ORANGE CREAM SAUCE
(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!)