Scallop Fusilli with Sunburst Tomato Marinara

This homemade pasta is one of my family's ultimate favorites! Every time I suggest a different option, I am quickly denied, and we always come back to this recipe! It's just too delicious! There's nothing better than a fresh garden slow-simmered tomato sauce with heaps of garlic, white wine, a hint of chili flake, and fresh chopped parsley. The fusilli wonderfully soaks up the sauce, and there's always just enough liquid to sop up with an olive oil toasted piece of crusty Italian bread! The scallops are seared to browned perfection on their own and then added to the pasta. You cannot go wrong with this classic combination!
overhead shot of scallop fusilli with sunburst tomato marinara

Below are the ingredients

Fusilli: Using good quality pasta is essential for this dish! I always try to look for an Italian-made brand. Fusilli is amazing for this recipe because its shape works to soak up this sauce. You could go one step further and make your pasta if you’re feeling ambitious:) 

Garlic: I love a large amount of garlic in this recipe! I use a Japanese mandolin to slice it super thin. You can obviously slice it with a knife as well. I think the thinly sliced garlic adds to the depth of the sauce and the presentation because you can see it when plating. 

Chili Flake: Adding a little spice to this sauce, takes it to the next level! If you do not prefer spicy food, you can omit it altogether. And if you love spicy food, I would up the quantity of the chili flake to 2-3 teaspoons. The chili flake works wonderfully with the garlic when cooked in oil and permeates into the rest of the sauce. 

Cherry Tomatoes: Using fresh garden tomatoes makes this dish truly magical! I love to make this dish when I’m home in NH in summer, and my dad’s garden is in full bloom with busting red, yellow, and orange tomatoes. I pick fresh parsley too, and it’s a green thumb’s delight! 

Tomato Paste: The tomato paste is used to thicken the marinara sauce and add a rounded, robust flavor. The key is to allow it to caramelize for 3-4 minutes to bring out a more toasted pungent flavor before adding the wine. 

Dry White Wine: I like to use a dry chardonnay for this recipe. Any white wine will work, but I don’t prefer super sweet wine, as it takes away from the natural sweetness of the tomatoes. 

Unsalted Butter:  I only use unsalted butter cooking! Don’t get me wrong; salted butter is quite delicious. However, I only use it for already baked and cooked items. In the cooking process, you want FULL control over your addition of salt, and it needs to be added in the correct place for optimal results. 

The addition of butter to the marinara helps “round out the sauce.” In French, this is called “monter au beurre,” which means to mount with butter. This will give the marinara an extra silkiness, gloss, and overall glorious taste! 

Parsley: Make sure to add the fresh parsley to the sauce when the marinara is cooked completely, and it’s off the heat. If you add the fresh parsley to a simmering sauce, it will turn brown and bitter. 

Olive Oil: I like to use a good quality olive oil for sautéing but not extra-expensive fine olive oil. I use more expensive luscious olive oils as finishers to sauces or salads. 

Salt: Kosher salt is a must for all baking and cooking! It is iodine-free and is of higher quality than regular table salt. Also, the coarseness of the grain creates a better platform for the baking process.

Crusty Italian Bread: This is obviously not necessary for the dish, but provides that extra oomph to the final product! 

Large Sea Scallops: Go to your local fishmonger or purveyor and try to obtain the largest and most fresh scallops possible. Smaller scallops will also work for this dish, but they are harder to create that perfect golden brown sear and are not as luscious. 

Olive Oil: I like to use an olive oil cruet and coat my sauté pan with two-three drizzles of oil. 

Crushed Garlic: The crushed garlic is used to flavor the oil when searing the scallops. When the garlic becomes brown on both sides, remove it from the pan. 

Unsalted Butter: Butter helps to brown the scallops. Butter is made up of milk solids and fat and works with the olive oil to create a beautifully browned crust on the scallops. 

White Wine: After the scallops are browned and removed from the pan, the wine is used to deglaze the pan. The wine helps lift the caramelized brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and then that liquid is then added into the marinara sauce for additional seafood flavor. 

scallop pasta with tomato sauce on a spoon
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overhead shot of scallop fusilli with sunburst tomato marinara

Scallop Fusilli with Sunburst Tomato Marinara

This homemade pasta is one of my family's ultimate favorites! Every time I suggest a different option, I am quickly denied, and we always come back to this recipe! It's just too delicious! There's nothing better than a fresh garden slow-simmered tomato sauce with heaps of garlic, white wine, a hint of chili flake, and fresh chopped parsley. The fusilli wonderfully soaks up the sauce, and there's always just enough liquid to sop up with an olive oil toasted piece of crusty Italian bread! The scallops are seared to browned perfection on their own and then added to the pasta. You can not go wrong with this classic combination!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Pasta and Noodles
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 774 kcal

Ingredients
  

Marinara and Fusilli

  • 1 lb Fusilli
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp chili flake
  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Toasted crusty Italian bread for serving

Seared Scallops

  • 2 lbs large sea scallops
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

Marinara and Fusilli

  • Place a large pot of water over moderate heat and add salt, so it tastes “salty like the sea.” Keep at a rolling boil and reserve to cook the Fusilli.
  • Coat a large sauté pan with oil and add the garlic, chili flake, and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Immediately add the tomatoes and tomato paste, so the garlic does not burn. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the tomato paste has slightly caramelized and add the white wine.
  • Season with salt and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the sauce uncovered for 20-30 minutes until it has reduced and thickened.
  • Cook the pasta in the salted water until “al dente,” about 9 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spider and transfer the cooked pasta straight from the water to the reduced tomato sauce.
  • Stir and flip the Fusilli in the tomato sauce and add the butter. Continue to stir the pasta until the butter has fully melted into the pasta.
  • Take the pasta off the heat and stir in the fresh parsley and season to taste with salt.
  • Serve with the seared scallops and toasted crusty Italian bread.

Seared Scallops

  • Line a plate with paper towels, place the scallops on top and place an additiona piece of paper towels on top of the scallops to dry. 
  • Season the scallops on both sides with salt andfreshly cracked pepper.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over moderate heat andcoat with oil.
  • Arrange the scallops in a single layer in the pan and add the crushed garlic and the butter. 
  • Cook the scallops until a golden crust starts toform, about 3-5 minutes. 
  • One by one, flip the scallops and remove the browned crushed garlic from the pan.
  • Cook the scallops on the second side for about 1-2 minutes. Remove the scallops from the pan and add the white wine. 
  • Use a wooden spoon to scrape all the browned bits from the pan, and add that liquid to the cooked pasta. 
  • Plate the pasta and serve with the searedscallops and toasted bread. 

Nutrition

Calories: 774kcalCarbohydrates: 106gProtein: 45gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 1068mgPotassium: 1341mgFiber: 6gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 2085IUVitamin C: 49mgCalcium: 104mgIron: 5mg
Keyword marinara sauce recipe, scallop pasta sauce
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About Sarah
Sarah blair

Adding a generous dose of enthusiasm, excitement, and creativity to the culinary world, Sarah began her career at the French Culinary Institute in NYC. Sarah has worked for the past decade as a Culinary Producer and Food Stylist.

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