Sunday, September 9, 2007

Bay Scallops with Orecchiette

This is a bit of a MacGyver dish. I bought the scallops yesterday when we were at the Asian market with the intention of using them for a different recipe, but I never made it to the grocery store to pick up the other ingredients I needed. I didn't feel like going shopping this evening after spending all day cleaning the house. However, I was not going to mess around with letting the scallops sit in the fridge for too long after my turkey meatball incident! I came up with this tasty little pasta dish using ingredients that were already in the kitchen.

A note about the scallops: I specify bay scallops, but you could easily use the bigger sea scallops instead. You should be advised, though, that the bay scallops fit snugly inside the bend of the orecchiette, which makes for a very cute forkful!

3/4 to 1 pound bay scallops
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup chicken broth
Juice of half a lemon
8 ounces orecchiette pasta
1/2 teaspoon each of dried basil and oregano
A pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, deep-sided pan and warm over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan and saute until it is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and garlic, and season with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook until the tomatoes start to break down a bit, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, sugar, and lemon juice and bring up to a bubble. Let it simmer away until the liquid thickens somewhat, about 10 minutes.

Warm up a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the scallops to the skillet and cook on each side for 2 minutes. If you bought frozen scallops, like I did, you won't get a good sear. The heat will just cause the liquid to cook out of the scallops, preventing them from browning. Fresh scallops are preferable for flavor, but ehhh, do what you've gotta do. Remove the scallops to a plate.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle in the basil and oregano and stir to combine. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Add the scallops to the pan and let everything simmer together for a minute or two. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan on top.

Rating: This is awesome
Not bad for a MacGyver meal!

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