This Creamy Seafood Pasta is sure to become a year round favourite recipe.
If oohs and ahhs and requests for the recipe are a measure of goodness – this dish is scoring very highly!
The seafood makes this light enough to be a welcome summer dish and the creamy sauce and pasta give enough weight to be comforting in winter too.
I am one of those people that often cannot get past the seafood pasta dish in a restaurant- probably because it usually has a cream sauce! And then it comes and you see 3 shrimp and there is a little stab of disappointment. It tends to be filling with a cream sauce anyway but I always wish I had more seafood in it.
Well – this recipe may just be the answer to that problem!
Chef’s Tips for Creamy Seafood Pasta
- Ensure you use ‘dry’ scallops. Wet scallops are treated with a solution of water and sodium tripolyphosphate which preserves them as soon as they are harvested at sea. Wet scallops have a distinct (unpleasant ) flavour and will never brown since they release a lot of the injected water during cooking. Be sure to pat moisture off the outside of the ‘dry’ scallops as well or they will not brown,
- 35% cream is recommended here. It is quite rich and you might be tempted to go for a lighter cream. Heavy cream is used here because it will be simmering and reducing in the process of making the sauce. Cream with less than 35% is prone to splitting or curdling when boiled. Light creams used in recipes are usually added at the very end and just warmed through, not boiled.
- Choose the pasta of your choice. Look for something that will hold the sauce like spaghetti, fusili or rotini.
- 1 lbs scallops preferably jumbo but bay scallops will work too
- 1 lb jumbo shrimp tail off, deveined
- 6 Tbsps butter divided 2 + 2 +2
- 2 Tbsps olive oil
- 1/2 cup yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 cup 35% cream
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups fresh spinach chopped up, no stems
- 3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes rough chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 lb spaghetti or pasta of your choice
- fresh ground pepper for garnish
- 4 oz fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Measure out all of your ingredients. You are going to make the sauce while the pasta water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking. You are aiming to have both done at the same time.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil using the pasta package instructions. Keep it warm but do not put the pasta in until you have the sauce partially made.
- Heat 2 Tbsps of butter and the olive oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium high heat. Pat the scallops dry and lightly salt and pepper them. Add the scallops to the hot pan in a single layer. Work in batches if necessary. Do not stir. Allow the scallops to cook undisturbed until you see them browning. They will release from the pan when the brown crust is ready. Turn over gently and repeat. This may take about 3 minutes per side for jumbo scallops. If using bay scallops toss them in the pan and leave them undisturbed for about 2 minutes. Give them a quick stir and allow them to cook undisturbed another 2 minutes. Transfer scallops from the pan to a dish and cover to keep warm.
- Add two more Tbsps butter to the skillet and repeat the procedure with the shrimp. Pat them dry and add them to the pan in a single layer. Work in batches if necessary. Allow them to cook undisturbed about 2 minutes per side. Note shrimp will not form a brown crust. Transfer shrimp to the bowl with the scallops.
- At this point bring up the heat to return your pot of water to a boil.
- While the water is returning to a boil, add the last 2 Tbsps of butter to the skillet. Add the onions and cook about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the white wine. Use a spatula to scrape up any brown bits left by the scallops on the bottom of the skillet. After a couple of minutes the wine should be reduced by about half.
- While the wine is reducing, add the pasta to the boiling water, stir and allow it to cook according to package instructions. While pasta is cooking proceed with the sauce.
- Add the chicken broth and the cream and bring the mixture to a very gentle simmer. (If the sauce boils vigorously you risk the cream splitting.)
- Put a few tablespoons of the sauce in a jar and add the cornstarch. Shake vigorously to dissolve the cornstarch. (Jar will be warm/hot from the sauce so shake cautiously.) Simmer the sauce about 5 minutes until it is thick and somewhat reduced.
- Add the spinach and sun dried tomatoes. Stir to coat. Test the sauce adjust for salt and pepper to taste,
- Return the scallops and shrimp to the skillet. Stir to coat them with sauce and allow them to simmer very gently for about 5 more minutes. Do not let the sauce boil vigorously at this point. Everthing is cooked and you are just melding flavours here. Overcooking will make the seafood tough and rubbery.
- Drain the pasta after the required cooking time. Do not rinse. Return pasta to the pot. Add the seafood sauce and toss to combine.
- Serve on a large platter or individual bowls garnished with fresh ground pepper and parmesan cheese.