Seduction Through Pasta!

EpicureanPiranha | June 1st, 2010 - 01:25

Pappardelle con Capesante e Salsa di Pesto

Or in English, Pappardelle with Scallops & Pesto.  Now this is a fabulous recipe, worthy of the finest tables. And yes, this dish is sure to seduce anyone, by its aroma, its wonderful colours and textures, and its wonderful symphony of flavours!

Make it for your sweetheart, for special guests, or why not just to treat yourself! 

Pappardelle with Scallops & Pesto

Silky, golden ribbons of freshly made pasta, tossed with fresh pesto and topped with seared scallops – heavenly!

To achieve the full effect, however, there are a few rules- you need to make fresh pasta, and whether rustic, modern or elegant, you must set a pretty table! If for some reason you do not, or can not drink wine, then serve a non-alcoholic wine or some Italian sparkling water in pretty glasses along with your meal.   Trust me, you won’t be sorry! ♥

…and please don’t run away just yet thinking it’s too complicated to make, because it isn’t!

If it’s your first time making this and you are not used to cooking, just make sure you set aside enough time so as not to be stressed.

  • You can make the pasta in the morning and let it dry until you’re ready to prepare the meal – it only needs a few minutes to cook. Then set your table, and prepare the pesto. This takes very little time and it will benefit from being made in advance because the flavours have time to develop. Don’t refrigerate the pesto if you will use it later on in the day – just store it in a clean jar or container with a lid, in a cool dry place, away from the sun.
  • *Peel, seed, and chop 2 large tomatoes in small cubes, and place in a small covered container in the fridge.

Now you will only need to sautée the scallops, cook the pasta, and dress the plates to serve. Make a simple starter and or dessert if you wish. Here are a few simple ideas:

  • Simple starters: fresh rocket tossed with a little balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and some freshly shaved parmesan; griddled asparagus with a little vinaigrette; or prepare thin slices of toasted ciabatta, then serve with home-made or purchased imported tapenade.
  • For dessert, you could serve flourless chocolate cake with fresh raspberries; lemon tart with fresh red currants on a puff of whipped cream; a quality ice cream with liqueur poured over it in pretty stemmed glasses or espresso cups; or meringues with crème fraiche and red berries.  All of these desserts can be made ahead of time or purchased.

The original recipe for this dish is from one of my many wonderful Italian cookbooks called “100 Great Pasta Dishes”, by Ann and Franco Taruschio. I’ve altered it slightly, basically adding more basil, a little more garlic, and reducing the oil. I also suggest adding 50% more scallops [the original recipe calls for 200 g, and when I made it yesterday I felt a little more scallops would be nicer].

Lastly, I’ve provided step by step instructions for the less experienced so that anyone can make this with success! 

 Serves 4 as a Main Course

Prepare the Pesto

125 ml (1/2 c) packed fresh basil leaves
80 ml (1/3 c) packed flat-leaf [Italian] parsley leaves
3 large or 4 cloves of garlic
50 g (2 oz) pine nuts
150 ml (2/3 c) extra virgin olive oil
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) sea salt
lots of freshly ground pepper

  • Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process to a thin paste. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and reserve until ready to use.
Making pappardelle

Cutting the strips into pappardelle, or ‘wide ribbons’. The name derives from the verb ‘pappare’, to gobble up!

Prepare the Dish


1 quantity basic fresh pasta, rolled thin and cut into wide strips [see the recipe under the section Epi's Cooking How-To]
pesto sauce (recipe above)
60 ml (1/4 c) peeled & seeded tomatoes, cut in small cubes (see above*)
30 ml (2 Tbs) extra virgin olive oil
200 – 300 g (7 to 10.5 oz) scallops, cut in half if large
salt and fresh ground pepper
small sprigs of fresh dill or basil to decorate

  • Turn the oven on to 90° C (200° F), and place the plates in the oven to warm. If you need to cook the scallops in 2 batches, also place a bowl in the oven.
  • Fill the largest pot you have with water, add a few teaspoonfuls of salt, and bring to a boil.
  • For the scallops, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan and when it is very hot, add the scallops. Don’t crowd them and do this in two batches if needed, otherwise they will boil! Make sure they’re dry [dry them with paper towels], and space them well. Don’t turn before 1 minute so that they get nice and golden. Season with salt & fresh pepper and turn, cooking no more than 2 1/2 to 3 minutes in all. It’s better to undercook them particularly if you do this in 2 batches – place the first batch in the warm bowl in the oven with the plates, and they will continue to cook.
  • When ready to cook the last batch of scallops, add the pasta to the boiling water [be sure to time this as soon as the water returns to boiling point!] The section on Making Fresh Pasta also explains how to cook fresh pasta.
  • As soon as the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot [some of the cooking water will cling to the pasta - that's ok]. If any juice has gathered in the bowl of cooked scallops, add it to the noodles, then toss gently with some of the pesto [use a wooden spoon to do this].
  • Add a few spoonfuls of pesto sauce to the scallops.
Fresh Pappardelle with Scallops & Pesto

Fresh Pappardelle with Scallops & Pesto – pappardelle is traditionally served with hearty sauces.

To Serve

  • Place some pappardelle in the centre of each plate [tongs are the easiest way to do this].
  • Now, using tongs or a spoon, carefully sperarate the scallops among the plates, placing them on the centre of the pasta.
  • Spoon a little pesto over the scallops and pasta, and garnish with a spoonful of cubed tomato in the centre.
  • Finish with a few sprigs of dill or a sprig of fresh basil and serve at once.

Buon appetito!

4 Responses to “Seduction Through Pasta!”

  1. I hope you do, Diane! It really is delicious :->

    Thanks so much for registering!

  2. Dianemariet says:

    I’m going to have to try this …. sounds so fresh & delicious. Beautiful photography, Marie …. as always!

  3. dubonnet says:

    my kind of meal!! Thank you!

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