This is it – my favourite go to recipe for those occasions when you don’t have a lot of time to devote to cooking – an impromptu date night, a weeknight dinner party or when folks drop in and you find yourself inviting them to stay for dinner. It takes hardly any time to cook, and you can keep all the ingredients on hand in your freezer and store cupboard. Quantities are easily adjusted to serve 2, 4, 6 or many, many more.
I usually make this easy pasta recipe with Fusilli Lunghi, a type of spaghetti that looks a bit like a curled up electrical cord. If you can’t find it, spaghetti or linguini are perfect substitutes as the flavour is exactly the same. The fusili lunghi just makes it look a bit more interesting.
Basil pesto works really well in this recipe – either freshly made or from a jar, depending on what I have on hand and how much time is available. I’ve also used red pepper pesto and even artichoke and almond pesto. I really can’t think of a pesto that wouldn’t work here so feel free to use your imagination.
I buy scallops that I can cook straight from frozen and as you can also use the small cooked frozen ‘cocktail’ shrimp without thawing in this recipe, it’s easy to keep all the ingredients on hand. However fresh shrimp and scallops work perfectly well here if you are able to plan ahead. Fresh or frozen, scallops really do not take long to cook – four to five minutes for fresh or seven minutes for frozen is generally plenty of time. When they are cooked properly, scallops look opaque inside. If they still look a bit translucent they are not done yet.
If you are using cooked frozen ‘cocktail’ shrimp (ie. the little ones), don’t bother to thaw them or they will overcook. Simply toss them into the pan for two or three minutes at the end and the heat will thaw and warm them through. Bigger cooked shrimps will need to be thawed, but be careful not to overcook them. Fresh shrimp take four to five minutes to cook over high heat and will be pink on the outside and opaque on the inside when they are done. So if you have fresh shrimp and scallops, put them in to cook at the same time.
While the pasta is cooking in plenty of boiling salted water, you simply fry the onion and then add the scallops, peas and finally the shrimp.
Add the pesto and cream.
Stir everything into the pasta, divide between the plates and voilà – dinner!
All you need to do now is pour some wine and enjoy!
- 4 ounces of fusilli lungi, spaghetti or linguini
- 1 tablespoon butter
- (that's a small bundle about five inches in circumference)
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 10 to 12 scallops, fresh or frozen
- ½ cup small cooked shrimp or about 10 larger raw shrimp, peeled
- ¼ cup frozen peas
- 6 tablespoons pesto
- 2 to 3 tablespoons single (light) cream
- pepper (optional)
- ½ teaspoon dried basil, optional
- Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan.
- Add the onion to the melted butter and sauté for two or three minutes or until the onion is beginning to become translucent.
- Stir in the fresh or frozen scallops. (If using fresh shrimp, add them now too.)
- Cook for a minute or two, turning the scallops occasionally.
- Add the frozen peas.
- Continue to cook, stirring almost constantly. When the scallops look cooked (this will take approximately two to four minutes more), add the frozen cooked shrimp.
- Stir in the pesto and cream and warm everything through.
- Taste for seasoning and add a bit of pepper if desired.
- Drain the pasta and stir in the Scallop and Shrimp Sauce.
- Serve on warmed plates, sharing the scallops between them. Garnish with dried basil if desired.