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two bowls of garlic pasta with scallops next to blue striped linen

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Pan Seared Scallops


A creamy, cheesy pasta loaded with fresh garlic and topped with perfectly pan-seared scallops make a rich and indulgent dinner for two that’s perfect for date-night or a special dinner for yourself!



For approximately 2 servings:

  • 68 oz. high-quality dried spaghetti or fettuccine noodles
  • 5 TBSP butter, divided
  • 68 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
  • 68 sea scallops, pat dry
  • Optional: squeeze of lemon or lemon zest


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: valentine's day, holiday, romantic, pescatarian, dinner for two

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