Scallops and Pasta with White Wine Butter

Served over sautéed spinach, this one-dish dinner includes pan-seared scallops, angel hair pasta, fresh tomatoes and a garlicky, white wine butter sauce.

Seared Scallops and Angel Hair Pasta with White Wine Butter



  1. Put a large pot of salted water on to a boil for the angel hair.
  2. Arrange the scallops on a plate in a single layer and pat dry with paper towels. Brush both sides with a little oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with a small amount of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add a few handfuls of spinach and toss continually with a pair of tongs until wilted. Transfer the cooked spinach to a plate and repeat the process until all the spinach is cooked.
  4. Wipe out the pan and melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. 
  5. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 1-1/2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the wine and cook until smooth and blended, 1 to 2 minutes more. 
  6. Add the tomatoes and cook just long enough to soften them, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, set aside and wipe out the pan.
  7. Add the angel hair to the boiling water and as soon as it returns to a boil, begin cooking the scallops.
  8. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat, swirl the pan to coat and add the scallops one at a time in a clockwise pattern. Cook until lightly seared, about 1-1/2 minutes per side.
    Tip: Use tongs to turn the scallops in the order in which you added them to the pan and don’t try to turn them too quickly or they might stick. Once properly seared, you’ll find they release from the pan easily.
  9. As soon as the scallops are cooked, remove the pan from the heat.
  10. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the angel hair and return it to the pan. Add the sauce and tomato mixture and toss to combine, adding the reserved pasta water in small increments to help coat the pasta evenly.
  11. To serve, divide the spinach between 2 serving plates, top each with a portion of pasta and tomatoes, then add the scallops. Spoon the remaining pan juices over the top and serve immediately.


Recipe Notes:

Dry sea scallops are scallops that have not been soaked in a brine-like solution frequently used to prevent them from losing their natural moisture.

If the scallops you’re buying are not clearly marked, ask your fishmonger. Only the “dry” variety will work for this recipe as you will not be able to sear the “wet” type properly.