CLASSIC pasta tagliolini and scallops with Meyer lemon








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The special flavor of Meyer lemons adds a distinctive touch to this basically classic dish. This pasta, like angel hair, works perfectly with the scallops. This recipe calls for bay scallops, the larger, but sea scallops work just as well.

for the sauce:

  • five tablespoons olive oil (four plus one)
  • one medium clove of garlic, peeled and diced
  • one cup fresh breadcrumbs (make your own)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • one pound sea scallops
  • one-half cup minced shallots
  • one-quarter cup white wine
  • five tablespoons of unsalted butter (four and one)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • two teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
  • one-quarter cup juice from Meyer lemon
  • two tablespoons chopped parsley

 for the pasta:

  • one pound freshly-made egg pasta, tagliolini

Over medium heat, put the olive oil in a sauté pan, and cook one minute. Add the breadcrumbs and sauté for 1-2 minutes, letting the breadcrumbs brown slightly but not too much. Set aside.

(note: really fresh as opposed to store-bought packaged bread crumbs are a real treat. Easy to do. Take a few slices of good French bread, toast them lightly under the broiler, and then run them through the food processor. The results are well worth the slight effort).

In another sauté pan, over medium high heat, put in four tablespoons of butter. When melted, add the scallops and a dash of salt.

If the bay scallops seem too large, cut in half. Cook, but do not brown. Scallops are done perfectly when they just turn white. Do not overcook: one doesn't want tough scallops. Remove the scallops from the pan and set aside. Add the garlic and shallots and the red pepper flakes to the pan and cook until onion is translucent, a few minutes. Turn the heat high, add the wine to deglaze the pan, and add the zest and lemon juice. Cook for two minutes; return the scallops to the pan and set aside.

Bring 4-5 quarts of water to a raging boil, add a tablespoon of salt, add the pasta and cook until just short of al dente. (Testing by pulling out a strand of pasta with a wooden pasta fork, and tasting). When the pasta is just short of al dente, reserve one cup of the pasta water. Drain.

Return the sauté pan with the scallops to medium heat. Add the drained pasta to the pan. Stir. Add the bread crumbs, and another tablespoon of butter and mix well. Then add from the cup of reserved pasta liquid, using as much as necessary to make the dish just moist enough. Stir again.

Cover and put over high heat for two minutes, to get the pasta very hot.

Serve immediately on warmed plates. A touch of parsley on the serving adds color.



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