This is what we had for dinner tonight and a perfect example of cooking with what you have on hand. In this case I had some leftover scallops and from the fresh vegetables that I had only the bell peppers seemed appealing (the others were broccoli and savoy cabbage). I googled “ricetta capesante peperoni” (recipe scallops bell peppers) to look for inspiration. I then saw an Italian recipe for green tagliatelle with scallops and a sauce of roasted bell peppers. I ended up changing most of it, but I did like the idea of roasting the bell peppers and blending them into a puree as a sauce. I also liked the idea of including some fish stock to deepen the flavor, as I always have some fish stock in my freezer. (I did not like the idea of first boiling the scallops in fish stock before sautéing them as that would make them tough, and I did not feel like including beurre noisette. And I only had regular tagliatelle.) The result was very nice indeed and definitely worth shopping for next time I make it. Here’s what I did…
For 3 servings
375 grams (.8 lb) scallops
300 grams (2/3 lb) tagliatelle
2 large or 3 medium red bell peppers
1 onion, chopped
250 ml (1 cup) fish stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Start by roasting the bell peppers for about 20 minutes in a very hot oven (250C/480F) or until they are blistered and starting to blacken.
Allow them to cool inside a closed plastic bag, as that will make it easier to remove the skin.
Meanwhile, pat the scallops dry with paper towels. If they are large, cut them in half first.
Brown the scallops in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat for about 2 minutes. Make sure not to overcook them, as they will become tough and rubbery if you do.
If you can get very fresh scallops they are firmer and will brown more easily.
Remove the scallops from the pan with a slotted spoon, put them on a plate, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reserve.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta later.
Put the chopped onion in the pan with the scallop drippings. Season with salt.
Stir the onions over medium heat, making sure to include any scallop bits that got stuck to the pan by scraping with a wooden spatula.
When the onions are soft and slightly golden…
…add the fish stock.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and allow to reduce.
Strain the scallop juices that will have collected on the plate into the sauce as well, and return the scallops to the plate.
Meanwhile, the pepper should have cooled down enough for you to handle them.
Remove the skin and seeds.
Wait for the water to boil. When it boils, add salt and the tagliatelle. Set the timer for the time indicated on the package for al dente.
While the pasta cooks, put the now skinless bell peppers in the blender together with the onion sauce.
Blend until smooth.
2 minutes before the pasta will be cooked, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan (I wiped the one used for the scallops and onions with some kitchen paper) and sauté the scallops for a minute over high heat to heat them back up.
Return the scallops to their plate, and add the blended pepper mixture to the pan.
Bring to a boil, stirring, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Drain the pasta and add it to sauce.
Toss over low heat until the pasta has been coated with the sauce.
Serve the pasta on preheated plates and the scallops on top.
Two years ago I did the same type of food blogging as today: thinking of a dish, cooking it, eating it, and blogging about it, all in a single day. In this case it was pasta with lamb, peas, and mint.