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Scallops ‘n’ Pasta

Posted by in Step-by-Step Recipes

When I tell people that I develop recipes, photograph and blog full-time, they automatically think that I have this easy, glamorous life where I flit around the kitchen singing happy songs while stirring a pot of soup, wearing a clean, crisp, cute little apron and dainty heels. And my reality is so far from that. Okay, I confess that I actually do sing happy songs in the kitchen, but usually it’s silly songs that my five and six-year-old bring home from school; and I do wear platform shoes in the kitchen, but it’s because I’m short.

It’s a wonderful career and I am very fortunate to absolutely love what I do. But, some days it can get pretty quiet in the kitchen by myself, and even to the point of lonely in the evenings on the couch, trying to decipher out what the heck is wrong with my flippin’-PHP-HTML-CSS-whatchamacallit-code on my blog.

That’s why I have a legion of close blogging friends; we consider each other sort of like coworkers. The type of friends that you could call up at 10pm and rant about so-and-so who left a rude comment or panic about “I broke my site!” We e-mail each other for advice, help and encouragement.

Ree is one of those friends, and I love her dearly. Even though we’ve only seen each other a couple of times in person, we get on like sisters—blog sisters, that is. I was absolutely thrilled when we asked me to be a regular blogger-columnist on Tasty Kitchen, and elated to see how this community of food lovers has grown so quickly!

So, once a week I’ll be blogging here, and instead of giving straight recipes, I really want to focus on kitchen secrets, cooking lessons, product reviews and anything else that you really want to learn about. Such as, how to store green onions so that they last for weeks or how to open a bottle of champagne without donking someone in the head or putting out one of your ceiling lights (guilty).

I’d love to hear what you’d like to learn! It’s so nice to meet and see you!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Today, I’m going to teach you how to make a 15-minute seafood pasta dish. Once you’ve learned this method, you can make a super-easy, quick and perfect dish every single time. Yes, it’s simple enough that you really don’t need a recipe (but I did post the recipe for all you recipe lovers!). I’ve got secrets to share … so are you ready?

We’re using giant scallops here, but you could also use shrimp.

Here are my secrets:

1. Cook your pasta in salted water: Bring a big pot of water to boil and add enough salt so it’s slightly salty. This gives your pasta flavor and you’ll end up using less salt or sauce in your dish.

2. Everything ready to go: This dish cooks up so quickly that you really need to have all your ingredients prepped and close by. You don’t want the seafood to get cold while you’re furiously chopping tomatoes.

3. Dry seafood: Before you begin cooking, you really want to pat your seafood very very dry. And I don’t mean a sloppy dry. Use a couple of pieces of paper towel and really make sure that you blot all the moisture away. The reason this is so important is because seafood cooks really quickly. Any moisture on the seafood will end up steaming the seafood instead of pan-frying it.

4. High heat or low heat—no middle heat: Here’s my rule for cooking small pieces of seafood, like scallops, shrimp, or chunks of fish. Either go high heat or low heat, but not in the middle. The high heat will give you a wonderful sear, that charred crust that I will give up my Gucci purse for. A low, slow heat will gently cook the seafood so that it has a silky texture, but that’s for another lesson.

5. Don’t overcook your seafood: I know it’s obvious, but I do have to say it. For scallops and shrimp, they really only need a couple of minutes on each side. If you’re using small bay shrimp (about the size of a small marshmallow) – 1 1/2 minutes on each side or less.

Your first step is to get the water boiling for the pasta. Once boiling, add enough salt to make the water taste salty. How much you use depends on how much water you’re boiling. Start with 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt), stir, taste the water and you can add more after that. Don’t worry, not all the salt will transfer to the pasta, but it will definitely give your pasta flavor. While your pasta is cooking, it’s time to prep the rest of the ingredients. When the pasta is done, you can drain it and just set aside.

Okay, now for the fun part.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

The first step is to make sure your pan is hot, super hot. I like using a cast iron frying pan, because I can get that baby heated up to maximum temperature.

Put the pan on high heat and don’t even look at the thing until it’s hot. How do you tell? Hold your hand 6 inches above the pan, and if you can’t hold it there for more than 3 seconds, you’re good to go. Swirl in a bit of olive oil.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Lay the scallops (or your chosen seafood) in the pan. Do not touch them for two minutes (1 1/2 minutes if you’re cooking small shrimp or smaller scallops). Don’t you dare try to move ‘em and squish them around! This is essential to getting a good sear.

After two minutes are up:

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

You can peek! Wow, nice crust there. Now turn them over.

If you’re only cooking a few scallops, like I am, here’s a trick. See the empty section in the middle of the pan up above? Well, that spot is extra hot.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

So when I flip over the scallops to cook the other side, I place the scallops in the middle—in the hot spot. Cook the second side for 1 1/2 minutes or so (they cook quickly). Look at the pan. There is no liquid at all. This is because my scallops were absolutely dry before added them into the pan. The high heat gave it a perfect, savory crust.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Quickly lift them out on a plate.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Turn the heat to low, add some butter.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Then some garlic and/or onions …

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Diced tomatoes …

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Now turn the heat to high and add a cup of white wine, beer or vegetable stock. Let it simmer and bubble for 30 seconds. Use your spatula to scrape up the crusty pan bits (there’s flavor in the pan bits!).

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Add your cooked/drained pasta.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Squeeze a bit of lemon to give it a bit of brightness.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Garnish with your fresh herb of choice (any of: parsley, cilantro, basil, chives).

And that’s it!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Scallops and Pasta. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Serve the scallops snuggled in with the pasta.


Printable Recipe

Scallops ‘n Pasta

See post on steamykitchen’s site!
4.92 Mitt(s) 13 Rating(s)13 votes, average: 4.92 out of 513 votes, average: 4.92 out of 513 votes, average: 4.92 out of 513 votes, average: 4.92 out of 513 votes, average: 4.92 out of 5

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Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 2


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A super-easy and quick 15-minute seafood pasta dish. This recipe uses giant scallops, but you could also use shrimp.


  • 4 ounces, weight Dried Pasta Of Your Choice
  • 10 whole Giant Dry-packed Sea Scallops Or Jumbo Shrimp
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 clove Garlic, Finely Diced
  • 1 whole Tomato, Chopped
  • 1 cup White Wine, Beer, Or Vegetable Stock
  • 1 sprig Parsley, Finely Minced
  • Just A Bit Of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Salt And Pepper

Preparation Instructions

1. Cook the pasta in salted water per the instructions on the box. Drain and set aside.

2. In the meantime, prep all the ingredients and have them at the ready nearby. For the scallops (or shrimp), use a couple of layers of paper towels and pat very dry. Move the scallops to a clean sheet of paper towel and pat dry once more. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.

3. Heat a large frying pan or saute pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in the olive oil. Add the scallops to the pan, not touching. Give each scallop ample room so that they can sear properly. Cook for 2 minutes without touching (1 1/2 minutes if using smaller pieces of scallops or shrimp) then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes until cooked through. Remove to a plate.

4. Turn the heat to low. Add the butter and the garlic. Saute for just 10 seconds and then add the tomatoes.

5. Turn the heat to high and add in the white wine (or beer or vegetable stock). Let it bubble a bit for 30 seconds and use your spatula to scrape up the bits in the pan. Season with salt and pepper (go light on the salt … remember your pasta is lightly salted now), throw in the parsley and then add in your cooked pasta. Stir well to let the sauce coat the pasta. Serve with the scallops.


Jaden Hair is a food writer, television personality, and food photographer based in Tampa Bay, Florida. Find more of her recipes in her blog, Steamy Kitchen, where you can also read more about Jaden’s new book, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook, and the rave reviews it’s received!


Profile photo of Erika (TK)

Meet Alice

Posted by in Meet the Member!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Alice Currah of Savory Sweet Life.

How well do you know your fellow Tasty Kitchen members?

Everyone, say hello to Alice, known here at Tasty Kitchen as savorysweetlife. She’s shared some amazing recipes with all of us, ranging from, well, from savory to sweet. And sometimes, all those flavors are in the same dish, like the Grilled Peaches with Ricotta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction pictured above.

A quick look at her Tasty Kitchen profile will tell you that Alice was born in Seattle, where she also lives. Her musical tastes are varied, she loves chocolate and coffee, and loves to bake more than cook. But did you know that aside from her restaurant experience, she’s also worked in 3D animation? That she’s a stay-at-home mom with three adorable children, and that she bakes and decorates all of their birthday cakes?

It’s those little bits of interesting, personal things that make us feel like we’re truly starting to get to know each other. Which is important in a community. It’s nice to know that the awesome member whose recipes always make you drool shares your secret love for crushed potato chips on top of her mac and cheese. (Yes, Alice does.) Or that time you left the stove on with a pot on a burner and ended up deforming your pot, leaving a nasty smell in your house? Yep, she’s been there too. And she shares your pain.

Don’t you feel better now?

So we’re going to start regularly introducing you to your fellow Tasty Kitchen members, and give you a chance to learn more about them. We’re hoping it will be a way for all of us to connect with each other in a more personal way.

Now, let’s all get to know Alice! But first, how about a quick look at some of the treasures in her recipe box?

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Alice Currah of Savory Sweet Life.Clockwise, from top left: Absolut Pear Champagne Cocktail, Coconut Chicken Tenders with Honey Marmalade Dipping Sauce, Muddy Buddies, and Chocolate Ganache Recipe.

Q: First of all, what do you enjoy most about cooking?
A: I love when the people I cook for enjoy my food.

Q: So what’s your go-to dish or meal?
A: Steak and mashed potatoes. We eat steak seasoned with just salt and pepper each week, with a nice helping of mashed potatoes on the side. I particularly like using London broil because it is very inexpensive, yet very tender if prepared correctly.

Q: Okay, what if you had to eat something right now, and had only 3 minutes to get it ready?
A: That’d be Glorified Top Ramen. I’d cook top ramen according to the package directions, drop an egg in there and top with green onions. Yummos!

Q: Give us one of your favorite kitchen tips that you wish you’d always known.
A: I wish someone would have told me that having a nice knife would make my life so much easier. I’ve always owned cheap knives; I invested in a couple of new ones which have made cooking more enjoyable.

Q: Complete the sentence: “I panic when I realize I’m out of …”
A: Chocolate!


Thanks for answering our questions, Alice!

For more of Alice, her wonderful cooking and insightful writing, check out her awesome sites, Sweet Savory Life and Everyday Alice. And when you do, you may find out that Alice and her husband Rob just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary!

Profile photo of Ree | The Pioneer Woman

How to Make Blender Hollandaise Sauce

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Have you ever tasted Hollandaise Sauce, and I’m not talkin’ the stuff in the paper packet? It’s dreamy. It’s a triumph. And it’s made with a lot of butter.

Hollandaise sauce begins with a lemon juice and butter base, and is emulsified with the addition of egg yolks. Hollandaise is the chief ingredient in Eggs Benedict, but is also perfect on asparagus and other vegetables, as well as fish and even a rare piece of beef tenderloin. While making it by way of a whisk can be a little on the challenging side, this is a nifty Blender Hollandaise that’ll make your spirit soar. And your tummy jiggle. And your hips spread. And your hiney droop to the floor.

In a small saucepan, melt 2 sticks of butter until sizzling. But don’t let it burn!

Separate three eggs…

And place the yolks into a blender.

Now, pay attention, darlings! Turn the blender on low to allow the yolks to combine, then begin pouring the very hot butter in a thin stream into the blender. The blender should remain on the whole time, and your should be careful to pour in the butter very slowly.

Keep pouring butter until it’s all gone, then immediately begin squeezing lemon juice into the blender. You should use the juice of one lemon. And check the blender to make sure the sauce is still liquidy and moving easily through the blades. If it’s not, add a little more juice and give it a stir, then blend again.

I like to add a generous shake of cayenne pepper. It takes a lot before the sauce gets too spicy, so don’t be too shy with this stuff.

You’ll notice the sauce is quite thick. But when I turned the blender back on to mix in the cayenne, it moved along just fine. Remember, if it’s too thick to blend, just squeeze a little more juice in there and give it a stir. But please remember to remove the spoon before you turn the blender back on. Please? Thank you.

That’s it—Hollandaise! (Here’s my Eggs Benedict recipe if you’d like it!.)

Make some this week. It’s a wonderful journey through decadence.


Profile photo of Ree | The Pioneer Woman

How to Chop an Onion

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

The only reason I’m going to show you how to dice an onion is that I was an embarrassingly advanced age (relatively speaking) before I finally figured it out myself. And I want to share that with humanity! I don’t want you to be clueless like I was for so many wretched years.

DSC_0073Start by cutting the onion in half from root to tip.

DSC_0074Then lop off the top end.

DSC_0075Then peel off the outer layer.

DSC_0076Then make several small, vertical slices all the way through the onion.

DSC_0078Next, rotate the onion 90 degrees and slice again, creating a dice.

Rocket Science: that’s what I have to offer the world.


Republished from The Pioneer Woman Cooks’ archives.