I enjoyed the combination of scallops, shallots and almonds so much that I decided to serve it as a sauce on homemade fresh pasta. First the scallops are sautéed in olive oil. Then the shallots are slowly cooked in that same olive oil until they fall apart, while the almonds are chopped and toasted. Finally everything is tossed with delicate fresh tagliolini. The result is a wonderful primo piatto that uses surprisingly few ingredients to deliver such great depth of flavor. Here’s what I did…
For 2 large or 4 small servings
225 grams (.5 lb) sea scallops
175 grams (1 1/3 cup) minced shallots
40 grams (1/4 cup) blanched almonds
300 grams (.66 lb) homemade fresh tagliolini, made using 2 eggs and 200 grams (1 1/3 cup) flour, I used half Italian 00 and half semolina
2 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine
Make pasta dough, roll it out, and cut it into narrow noodles. Tagliolini are only 3 mm (1/8″) or so wide. (If you make them wider, they will be tagliatelle (6 to 8 mm, 1/4″ to 1/3″), or if even more wide, pappardelle.)
Chop the almonds and put them in an oven proof dish.
Roast the almonds in the oven at 180C/350F until they are golden but not brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
Meanwhile, cut each scallops in two slices as shown.
Pat them dry with paper towels.
Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, add the scallops and cook them for less than 1 minute per side. You just want to give them a bit of color. Put them on a plate and set aside.
Add the shallots to the same pan over medium heat, and season with salt.
Cook them over medium heat, stirring regularly.
Season the scallops with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Transfer the scallops to a cutting board and cut them into quarters.
Add the juices that leaked from the scallops onto the plate to the shallots.
Add the white wine to the shallots as well.
Keep cooking over medium heat until the shallots have fallen apart and the sauce has thickened somewhat.
When the large pot of water boils, add salt and the tagliolini. They will take only 1 or 2 minutes to cook, depending on how thinly you rolled out the pasta and how long they were dried.
Now place the scallops in the shallot sauce, together with most of the toasted almonds and most of the minced parsley.
Stir to mix and to reheat the scallops. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed.
Drain the tagliolini when they are still al dente, and add them to sauce. Turn off the heat.
Toss the pasta until it is covered with the sauce.
Serve at once on preheated plates, garnished with the remaining toasted almonds and parsley.
Since this was inspired by a dish from Sardinia, it is not a surprise that this is great with a Vermentino from that same island. Many other unoaked dry white wines with a touch of almond would work too, though.