I absolutely love having pasta with shellfish for dinner. It’s one of those comforting meals I could enjoy every night. But all of that pasta can get a bit heavy after awhile. This is why I’ve started using zucchini and yellow squash in place of the pasta! I was very skeptical the first time I heard about this technique but I’m now a huge fan. Yes, the consistency is different, but it still takes care of a pasta craving and you won’t feel sluggish after the meal.
To create the noodles seen in the recipe photo, I used what’s known as a spiralizer. You can find these little devices in kitchen supply stores as well as online. And of course, you can always swap out the zucchini noodles in the recipe for good old fashioned pasta. I won’t tell anyone.
Seared Scallops with Arugula Basil Pesto and Zucchini Noodles
- 2 cups (packed) fresh basil
- 2 cups (packed) arugula
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more as needed)
- 2 large zucchini, peeled
- 8 - 10 large scallops
- 1 Tbsp clarified butter (also known as ghee)
- salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the pesto: Add the basil, arugula, pine nuts, parmesan and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped, scraping down the sides. Slowly pour in the olive oil with the machine running. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the mixture seems to thick, incorporate a bit more olive oil.
Prepare the zucchini: Use a spiralizer or mandoline to create “noodles” from the zucchini. Alternately, a peeler can be used to create thin linguine shaped squash by peeling strips and then slicing lengthwise. Heat a skillet with a bit of olive oil and briefly sauté the zucchini until tender.
Prepare the scallops. Pat the scallops dry on both sides with a paper towel (this will help with the searing). Remove any side skin. Heat the clarified butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the scallops and sear on one side for a minute and a half. Season the tops with a pinch of salt. Flip, season with salt and cook for an addition minute and a half. Remove from the heat.
Toss the zucchini noodles together with some of the pesto. (There may be leftover pesto; save it!) If the pesto isn't spreading evenly over the noodles, add a bit more olive oil to thin out the consistency. Test for seasoning, adjust if necessary. Divide the noodles into two separate bowls and top with the seared scallops.
About the Author
Jennifer Farley is the creator, recipe developer and photographer of Savory Simple, a blog dedicated to gourmet, simple, beautiful food and quality ingredients. Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD and has worked professionally as a chef and cooking instructor. Her work has been featured by Williams-Sonoma, Bon Appetit, Food52, The Kitchn, Huffington Post, and Marcus Samuelsson. She currently resides in Washington DC.