I often find myself leafing though Marcella Hazan's Essentials Of Classic Italian Cooking, and I earmarked this recipe as one to make when I'm feeling tired. The whole recipe takes about 15 minutes, counting the time to boil the water for the pasta. It moves so quickly, I couldn't take any pictures as I made it. I was so looking forward to eating the finished dish, but was sorely disappointed when I did. It''s not the recipe. It was the bay scallops, which had an odd metallic taste. I wound up flicking them to the side and eating the pasta without them. Once I did that, the dish was very enjoyable. As I was eating it, I thought how chopped shrimp or mushrooms would be a good substitute. Good scallops would also work nicely, of course. However, I have to say that Bob enjoyed the whole dish, scallops included, so maybe I was too critical.
One of the things I did like was the bread crumbs tossed with the pasta. I used some unflavored Panko crumbs, the wonderful Japanese product that's available in most grocery stores. It had a very fresh, bready taste and toasted up nicely in a skillet. It was delicious on the pasta. This is my submission for Presto Pasta Nights, the lovely event created by Ruth at Once Upon A Feast. Check her site on Friday, when the roundup of creative pasta dishes will be posted.
Scallop Sauce with Olive Oil, Garlic and Hot Pepper
(Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan)
1 pound bay scallops or deep sea scallops
1/2 cup olive oil
1 heaping Tbsp garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
red pepper flakes, to taste (I used a healthy pinch)
1 Lb. spaghettini (Thin pasta works best here)
1/2 cup unflavored bread crumbs, toasted in a skillet or oven (I used Panko-gasp!)
Wash the scallops in cold water, pat dry and cut into pieces 3/8 inch thick. My bay scallops were small so I didn't cut them.
Put the olive oil and garlic in a saucepan, turn on the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until garlic becomes colored a light gold. Add the parsley and hot pepper. Stir once or twice, then add the scallops and one or two pinches of salt. Turn the heat up to high, and cook for about 1-1/2 minutes, stirring frequently until the scallops lose their shine and turn a flat white. Do not overcook the scallops or they will become tough. Taste and correct for salt and hot pepper. If the scallops shed a lot of liquid, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and boil down the watery juices, but don't boil all the liquid away. Return the scallops to the pan, turn them over quickly, then turn off the heat.
Toss thoroughtly with cooked drained pasta, add the bread crumbs, toss again, and serve at once.