Spaghetti served in a decadent creamy garlic sauce topped with pan-seared brown butter scallops makes the perfect date-night-dinner for two!
You bet your bottom dollar we’re starting February off with a seafood stunner.
STUNN-ER. Like, blow this Valentine’s Day out of the water. Or most-epic Galentine’s celebration that’s ever existed. Or the best kind of self-love.
No matter the occasion, Creamy Garlic Pasta with these beautiful pan-seared scallops is making waves this month.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, then this recipe is for you.
- Do you always add 4+ extra garlic cloves in addition to whatever the recipe suggests?
- Will you likely add more garlic even though this recipe calls for 8 cloves?
- Do you live for quality pasta?
- Are your dreams made of garlic cream sauce?
- Do perfectly cooked seared scallops make your heart flutter?
- Have you been searching for the perfect dinner that’s impressive and elegant, yet easy to make and pretty quick on time?
- Do you love to eat delicious food?
Dare I keep going?
It’s all of those things and more.
The garlic! The sauce! The creaminess! The noodles! The scallops with their melt-in-your-mouth texture opposing their lovely brown sear on the exterior!
It has it all.
The Creamy Garlic Pasta
We have to start here. Because of the garlic. Always and forever the garlic.
The garlic and the parmesan. Basically it’s creamy garlic and parmesan pasta. Our two key players showed up and brought their A-game.
- The garlic gets tenders up in a bath of butter, with some salt and red pepper flakes for flavor.
- Whisk in some flour and cook it down to help our sauce thicken up (the thicker cheese sauce gets me every time).
- Deglaze. Add some liquid. Add in the pasta.
- Toss together and then add in the parmesan. Let it melt into the pasta and up our creaminess factor.
What are pan-seared scallops? Just that: large sea scallops that are seared up in a skillet with loads of butter that magically turns into brown butter and helps those luxurious scallops develop a deep golden brown exterior.
Pan-seared scallops and garlic and butter. You can’t get much better than that.
You can check out another step-by-step for seared scallop tips in this tropical scallop recipe. For now, I’ll leave you with these tips:
- Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper.
- Make sure your pan is hot if you want to achieve that seared exterior. There is a fine balance between browning and burning the butter, so do be careful.
- Wiggle them a little, if they’re ready to flip, they won’t be sticking.
How to Enjoy Seared Scallop Pasta
This creamy garlic-y scallop-y pasta can be enjoyed just as is, with yourself and a glass of chilled white wine.
It can be enjoyed with your honey for a romantic candle-lit dinner. Or, if we’re a little more realistic for a Friday night Valentine’s Day dinner, with the glow of Netflix and the latest binge starting.
Enjoy this creamy garlic pasta recipe next to roasted broccolini. A light side salad would be a great starting point, too. Want to skip the extra veggie prep but need some more greens? Wilt in a handful of spinach when you add the parmesan cheese.
You got this, you superstar you.
Whether you want to serve it with an extra veggie or as is, you’re in for a real treat.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Creamy Garlic Pasta with Pan Seared Scallops
For approximately 2 servings:
- 6-8 oz. high-quality dried spaghetti or fettuccine noodles
- 5 TBSP butter divided
- 6-8 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- Salt ~ 1 tsp fine and pepper, to taste
- Crushed red pepper to taste
- 1 TBSP all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- Parsley to garnish as desired
- 6-8 sea scallops pat dry
- Optional: squeeze of lemon or lemon zest
- Cook pasta just under al dente according to package directions. Be sure to reserve approximately 1/2 - 1 cup pasta water. While pasta cooks, begin making the sauce and let the scallops come to room temperature.
- Pasta Sauce: Add 3 TBSP butter to a large skillet over medium-low heat and let the butter melt. Add the thinly sliced garlic cloves and let cook for 2-4 minutes until garlic becomes slightly tender. Add salt, pepper, and a dash of red pepper flakes as desired. Stir in flour until combined completely and cook for an additional minute, continuing to stir so it doesn't burn. Stir in milk and vegetable stock until combined and bring to a low simmer.
- Add just-under al dente noodles to the sauce; stir to combine and let simmer on low for about 1-2 minutes, adding pasta water as needed until your desired sauce consistency is reached (I add about 1/3 cup usually). Don't forget to taste test! Stir in parmesan cheese until melted and remove pasta from heat. Garnish with fresh parsley as desired.
- Scallops: Pat scallops dry and generously coat with salt and pepper. As the sauce finishes cooking, heat a smaller stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 TBSP butter and let melt. Once the butter is hot and slightly bubbly, add the scallops "standing up" on the flat edge. Let cook for approximately 1-2 minutes (depending on their size) until a golden crust forms. Flip the scallops and cook for another 1-2 minutes until a golden crust forms and the inside is translucent. Remove from heat and top pasta with scallops. Optional: squeeze a lemon on top, or stir in lemon zest, for added brightness.
This recipe is part of our Date Night Recipes to Love roundup. Check it out!