I think, perhaps, my favourite pasta is pappardelle. These wide egg noodles are so thick and chewy, they feel so substantial. Whenever I see pappardelle on a restaurant menu I order it. It's my intention to someday make an authentic Bolognese sauce with pork, carrot, milk (!) and a little tomato paste to top the pappardelle but, until then, these seared scallops were a great match.
I used this recipe from Martha Stewart and added in some asparagus. I particularly loved the toasted breadcrumb topping and plan to use it often!
Here's what you need:
8 ounces pappardelle
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 pound sea scallops
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon lemon juice
First, make your fresh bread crumbs. I'd never actually done this before, believe it or not. Simply pulse a slice of slightly stale bread in the food processor into coarse crumbs. I used rye bread and it was fantastic. I don't often keep bread in the house, but next time I have some stale bread, I'm making bagfulls of breadcrumbs and putting them in the freezer.
Finely mince a clove of garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan and add the garlic and breadcrumbs. Toast for 3-4 minutes until golden and set aside.
Cook the pappardelle according to package directions, reserving a cup of cooking water. Drain and return to pot.
It's asparagus season, so I couldn't help but add some to this pasta. Break off the tough ends and slice the asparagus into bite sized pieces. I tossed it in for the last few minutes of the pasta cooking, but it actually cooks very well in the microwave. Sprinkle with a little water and microwave for about a minute until slightly softened, then toss with the finished dish.
Slice the scallops in half and pat them dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan (not a non-stick pan) and sear the scallops, about a minute per side. I like to use my cast iron skillet for scallops.
Remove the scallops to a plate and then add the thyme, lemon zest and reserved pasta water to the skillet. Simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the pan for about 3 minutes, then remove from heat and add the lemon zest and butter.
Toss the sauce with the pasta and top with the scallops and asparagus. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture and enjoy! Tasty, light and filling.