This is a recipe taken from Back Pocket Pasta by our friend Colu Henry. Scallops are always something I know I will find at the grocery store on the island, so this became our Sunday supper and was the first thing to try out her new book. It was sooooo good!
Colu believes in heavily salting the pasta water, as she often uses some of that water to mix with the pasta and the other ingredients to create a sort of sauce when everything gloriously mixes together. Begin by filling a large pot with water and bring that to a boil, then add 2 tablespoons of salt and return to a rolling boil. While that is bubbling away, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Then cook the salt & pepper seasoned scallops, 3 minutes a side. Take them out of the pan and set aside on a plate.
Wipe out the skillet, change the heat to low, add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and add a thinly sliced shallot and cook until carmelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Take out and set aside. This is not the season for Sun Gold tomatoes (which I am excited to in this dish when they start showing up at farm stands) so she recommends using grape tomatoes, which I did. Add them to the skillet and let cook away for about 8 minutes or until they start to burst open, releasing their juices, which will become part of the sauce. Season heavily with pepper and lightly with salt. While the tomatoes cook away add 3/4 of a pound of linguine to the boiling salted water until al dente. While the pasta is cooking away add 2 sliced garlic to the tomatoes along with a half of a cup each of chopped tarragon, chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley and sliced 1/2 inch long chives. Mix all together with the tomatoes in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the shallots you have already cooked.
Here is where most folks toss all the pasta water away and drain the pasta. Don’t. Here is where you will need tongs or long spoons–you want to pull the pasta out of the boiling water and add the pasta right to the skillet of tomato goodness. Then add a 1/4 of a cup of the hot cooking liquid to the lot. Now mix all around. The pasta water starts bringing all the ingredients together to create the ‘sauce’ and each strand of pasta is lovingly coated it in. Once all is combined, and certainly add more pasta water if needed, separate into 4 bowls, sprinkle with any remaining herbs from what you had chopped, along with a sprinkling of chunky sea salt, then add the scallops to the top of it all. Dinner is served.
Tickets are available for Colu’s book signing at the shop next Thursday eve, the 30th of March. The price is $35 which gets you her book, treats by Spinasse and wine by Cavatappi–along with a heck of a fun time. We will be donating the profits from the sale of the book to Meals on Wheels. (More on this amazing organization later) Call 206.652.8350 to purchase tickets and reserve your spot. Hope to see you there!