Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

A shallow bowl filled with Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops and pieces of crusty bread.

Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

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Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops is a wonderful homemade dinner ready in about 40 minutes when using jarred roasted red peppers. Roasted red peppers are widely available at most grocery stores and they make wonderful sauces and dips. For this recipe, the roasted red peppers are pureed with onion, garlic, herbs, and cream for a luscious sauce that hugs the spaghetti nicely and makes an easy yet delicious dinner.

Dry spaghetti, onion, garlic and salt arranged around a black pot in preparation for Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops.

It’s not always easy being creative in the kitchen and coming up with a wide range of meal options for you and your family, especially if you have picker eaters. Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops has a blended sauce that is smooth, creamy and mild in taste, making it appealing to many.  Not a fan of scallops? Try the recipe with shrimp, cooked chicken chunks or just an extra sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Other kinds of pasta like linguine or fettuccine will work well too, so use up what you have. The creamy sauce can be made up to two days in advance and warmed gently on the stove before adding the scallops. But I find little need to make it ahead of time when it comes together quickly as it is. But if you are all about the meal prep, I would suggest making a double batch of sauce and freezing half for use later. You just can’t beat meals made from scratch and this is a great dinner to have on rotation.  Enjoy!

Red Pepper sauce in a stainless steel sauce pan ready for cooked spaghetti for Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops.
A shallow bowl filled with Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops and pieces of crusty bread.

A shallow bowl filled with Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops and pieces of crusty bread.
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Red Pepper Spaghetti with Scallops

Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 340ml jar roasted red peppers, drained about 8 ounces
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 12 ounces bay scallops, patted dry
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • as needed chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot of well-salted water to a simmer. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions, about 8-9 minutes. Drain well, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft but not browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the white wine and reduce for 2 minutes. Stir in broth, herbs and spices and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated.
  • Pour mixture into a blender along with roasted red peppers. Puree until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the sauce back into the pan and whisk in cream. Heat to a simmer and reduce for 1-2 minutes. Add the scallops and cook for about 3 minutes (depending on size) stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and adjust salt to taste. Add the cooked spaghetti and Parmesan cheese tossing to coat in sauce, adding a splash of pasta water if needed.
  • Divide among serving dishes and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Notes

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Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce

Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce

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A tarragon infused cream sauce is one of my favourites.  It’s so good on chicken and plump, juicy scallops.  Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce makes a wonderful appetizer, first course or even an entrée served over mashed potatoes.   As with most seafood, the scallops cook in minutes for a quick dish that’s simple to prepare but looks and tastes much more elaborate.  Your guests will be impressed.

Seared scallops in a stainless steel pan resting on a metal trivet in preparation for Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce

The key to this dish is to make sure the scallops get a good sear. The sear not only adds depth of flavour but helps to seal in the juices from the scallops. This is achieved by making sure the scallops are dry by patting with a paper towel and also by using a hot pan with hot oil. The other very important thing is not to overcook the scallops.  Overcooked scallops are tough and rubbery and it takes no time at all to go from perfectly cooked to overdone.  So have all your ingredients and equipment ready before you start and be focused on the dish while cooking to ensure they are not only seared properly but cooked for only a couple of minutes per side.  In other words, there’s no room for a bathroom break once those scallops hit the pan.

But don’t be put off by a smidge of fussiness, this dish is very simple and uses the basic technique of deglazing the pan after removing the scallops, adding heavy cream and tarragon and reducing to create a gloriously silky sauce that will have you wanting to lick your plate.  Enjoy!

Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce arranged on a metal platter that sits on a table napkin.

Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce arranged on a metal platter that sits on a table napkin.
Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    4 appetizers 15 minutes
    Cook Time
    13-15 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    4 appetizers 15 minutes
    Cook Time
    13-15 minutes
    Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce arranged on a metal platter that sits on a table napkin.
    Scallops with Tarragon Cream Sauce
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      4 appetizers 15 minutes
      Cook Time
      13-15 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      4 appetizers 15 minutes
      Cook Time
      13-15 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: appetizers
      Instructions
      1. Pat scallops dry on both sides with a paper towel.
      2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add scallops and cook for approximately 2 minutes per side depending on size. Flip scallops and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
      3. Remove scallops to a plate and cover with foil.
      4. Over medium-high heat add wine to the pan and whisk to pick up any caramelized bits in the pan. Allow wine to reduce for 2-3 minutes.
      5. Whisk in heavy cream and tarragon and continue to reduce for about 5 minutes until sauce is reduced by half and has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper.
      6. Arrange scallops on a platter or serving dishes and drizzle each with a tablespoon of sauce. Serve immediately.
      Recipe Notes

      -makes about 3/4 cup of sauce.

      -you can use stainless steel, cast iron or non-stick skillets.  The key to a good sear is having the pan and oil hot and not overcrowding the scallops.

      -also delicious served as a main course over mashed potatoes.

      -makes 4 appetizer servings or 3 main-course servings.

      -using fresh tarragon is a must for this recipe.

       

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      Affiliate Disclosure

      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com