Seared Scallop Pasta With Bacon and Broccoli

4 servings
1 hr

Seared Scallop Pasta with Bacon and Broccoli sounds like a lot.

Well, it is.

In fact, this is one of those scallop recipes that appeals to those who may not even like the bivalve, since there is so much else going on in the pot. Succulent, sweet seared scallops mingle with garlic, onion, and a splash of white wine. Broccoli joins the skillet until it’s bright green and crisp-tender, then the whole thing gets tossed with al dente pasta, salted butter, and lots of crispy bacon.

Too much?

Scallop and bacon recipes— that perfect combination of mild and tender with meaty and crisp— are not meant to be subtle. Speckled with red and green and studded with caramelized bits of seafood, scallop bacon pasta offers plenty of intrigue in each bite.

Which in this case, is just the right amount.

More perfectly plentiful pasta recipes:

Seared Scallop Pasta With Bacon and Broccoli
Recipe details
  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 30 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 1 hr
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  • 1 lb. scallops
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb. farfalle or other short pasta
  • 4 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 strips cooked crispy bacon, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley or basil, optional

First, take note that this recipe calls for 6 strips of crispy cooked bacon. I suggest enlisting a family member to tend to the bacon (microwaving it is totally acceptable) while you start the recipe.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once it comes to a bowl, turn the heat to low and keep it warm until it’s ready for the pasta.
Remove the small muscle attached to the side of the scallop (not all scallops will have one). Pat the scallops dry, season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large (10 or 12-inch) skillet over medium until just beginning to shimmer. Working in batches, cook scallops, undisturbed, until golden brown on both sides, 3-5 minutes for the first side, 1-2 minutes for the second side (cooking time will vary based on the size of the scallops). Transfer to a plate or cutting board, repeat with any remaining scallops. Once cooled slightly, chop cooked scallops into large bite-sized pieces (halved or quartered, depending on size).
Scrape any browned bits from the skillet using a wooden spoon and transfer to the plate or cutting board with the chopped scallops. Turn the heat to medium-low. To the now-empty skillet, add onion and garlic (and a drizzle of olive oil if the pan seems dry). Season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until very fragrant and softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the wine, if using, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until about half of the liquid evaporates, 3-5 minutes.
At this point, bring the pasta water back to a boil and add the pasta. Set a timer and cook for 1 minute less than package directions. Just before draining, scoop out ½ cup pasta cooking liquid; then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
To the skillet with the onion/garlic mixture, add the broccoli, season with salt, toss, cover the skillet, and cook until the broccoli is bright green and just barely tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Taste the broccoli mixture and season as necessary.
Stir the 1/2 cup of pasta cooking liquid into the pot with the drained pasta, along with the butter. Stir vigorously until the butter coats the pasta and looks glossy. Stir in the broccoli mixture, scallops, and bacon, followed by the lemon juice. Taste and add salt as needed; sprinkle in the parsley or basil if using.
Serve, passing extra black pepper around the table.
  • Use shrimp if you don’t like scallops, or try this recipe with baby spinach instead of broccoli.
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  • Emma Whittington Emma Whittington on Oct 07, 2020

    This sounds delicious and so different from all the other scallop recipes that I've found. I can't wait to try it but do you think green beans would be a good substitute for the broccoli? I have them still coming in, in the garden, and need to use some for dinner. I will try the broccoli for a family dinner, soon. Thanks for a new way to use scallops. We love them.

    • Samantha Samantha on Oct 12, 2020

      Hi Emma, you can absolutely sub green beans for the broccoli! Just be sure to trim them, and halve them if they are long. They will cook for the same amount of time as the broccoli.

  • Mimi Mimi on Nov 14, 2020

    Can this recipe be made a day ahead?