Scallops start arriving fresh in the autumn and are so delicious in combination with olive oil, garlic and parsley that our book has a variation on the same theme that can be eaten just with bread.
The present dish comes from Marcella Hazan’s The Essentials of Italian Cooking. However, we’ve found that a splash of rosé or white wine improves the original. Although scallops that are shelled when you buy them are the nicest, they can equally be bought pre-shelled or frozen.
Don’t worry if the scallops are ready before the pasta: they can wait a few minutes.
The following quantities are enough for four people.
- 450–500 g spaghetti
- 2–4 scallops per person
- 1 lge clove of garlic
- a handful of parsley
- 1 fresh chilli, red or green, or 2–3 dried red chillis
- olive oil
- 50–75 ml rosé or dry white wine
- 1–2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Put a generous pan of salted water on to boil for the spaghetti.
Meanwhile, rinse the scallops thoroughly, separating the coral (the orange part) from the white part, to remove grit. Pat as dry as possible with a cloth or kitchen roll and cut the white parts into quarters and the corals in half, discarding any black bits.
Chop the garlic, parsley, and chilli very finely; the latter two can be done together.
Drop the spaghetti into the boiling water when you are ready to cook the garlic. (If the pasta is ready before the sauce, keep it warm having mixed in a trickle of olive oil.)
During the time the spaghetti is cooking, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and the garlic together gently in a frying or sauté pan until the garlic begins to take colour, then stir in the parsley and chilli. Add the scallops and a pinch of salt and cook for 3–4 min, stirring almost constantly. The scallops are done when they begin to look white rather than translucent.
If the scallops have released too much liquid, reduce it by turning up the heat briefly, having removed the scallops with a slotted spoon; then return these to the pan, pour in the wine and toss them in it until the wine bubbles.
Turn the scallops and the sauce into the pasta.
Finally, stir in the breadcrumbs and serve.