Lemon Cream Seafood Pasta for Hanging on to Summer

It’s here. The last week of the summer is in full swing, and I am over my head in work and events and activities and last-minute to-do lists that just may very well not get done. Throw in a couple phone calls about the school book fair (remind me again why I am the chairperson for that) and three open houses for the kids, I’m starting to feel like summer is already gone. Still, determined to stretch those warm summer nights and days as long as possible, this pasta’s fresh taste will make you think you’re in the midst of it rather than running at a full on sprint towards brisk breezes and fall-colored leaves.

I realize that I’ve been using a lot of capers recently. Both here and here. This also features capers. Let’s say, however, that you are opposed to the little dots of salty joy. For both this recipes and the ones previous, consider them optional. No need to pick them out of anything if you don’t like them, and surely no need for you to forgo entire culinary experiences just because it includes something like capers. That’s the beauty of cooking, the ability to cook what you want how you want. (Don’t ask me where the wine was in this picture. In the fridge so I could drink it with the meal perhaps.)

Raw shrimp is essential here. The precooked stuff just isn’t the same, and because it’s precooked, I feel that even the lightest bit of heating tends to overcook them into something tough and rubbery, and that is definitely not what we’re looking for.

Before you do anything else, start your pasta going. I like to add a teaspoon or two of olive oil and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to my water. The pasta absorbs some of the salt while it cooks, but not enough to make it salty, just to bring the flavor up a little, and the olive oil helps prevent stickage to both pot and other pasta strands.

To prepare your scallops, start by pulling this tiny little muscle off the side. Just give them a once over, and you should be able to find it stuck there. A little tug should be all it needs to separate itself.

Be sure to use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and heat until it starts to crackle if hit with a drop of water over medium-high heat.

While your oil is heating, sprinkle your scallops lightly and evenly with salt and pepper. Add your scallops to the hot oil and sear 2 to 3 minutes per side until they get this nice crust on them.

When the scallops are done, remove them to a warm plate covered in foil (because it holds the heat better) and set aside while you prepare the sauce. Over medium-high heat, add your chopped garlic and capers (if you so choose to use) to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Next, deglaze the pan by adding the wine and lemon juice.

When the liquid starts to reduce (read = there is less of it), add your mushrooms and shrimp, cooking shrimp just until they are pink on both sides, which ends up as about a minute per side. Add your cream and continue to stir until it thickens. How will you know it’s thick? It will start coating your spoon and holding together around the mushrooms and the shrimp rather than slipping off the sides.

I like to turn the heat off and introduce the pasta to the sauce rather than the other way around. In serving-sized bunches, I run the noodles through the sauce, pull and allow excess sauce to drip off and place them on the plate. Then I top with a few more pieces of shrimp and mushrooms from the sauce. Most people have a tendency to overindulge in their pasta sauce, drowning the noodles. This way it is easier to toss lightly in the sauce in large batches.

Topped off with a sprinkle of parsley and a seared scallop or two, it is the perfect way to be forgetful and pretend the days of summer really are endless.

Lemon Cream Seafood Pasta for Hanging on to Summer inspired by the Olive Garden
16 ounces fettucini
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound scallops
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup quartered baby portabella mushrooms
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
kosher salt
cracked black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Boil water and cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops lightly with salt and cracked black pepper. When oil is hot, place scallops in pan, searing both sides 3-4 minutes until a light brown crust starts.

Remove scallops to pan and keep covered while preparing the sauce. In the same sauté pan, add minced garlic and capers. Cook for 30 seconds before adding the white wine and the lemon juice while stirring. When the liquid is reduced by half (2-4 minutes), add shrimp and mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, 1 minute per side for the shrimp, until shrimp start to turn pink. Pour in the heavy cream. Season with white pepper kosher salt to taste. Continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Toss pasta in sauce and plate. Top with seared scallops.

6-8 servings

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