You will feel like a 5-star italian chef when you make this decadent dreamy scallops and tomato butter spaghetti dish.
Feelings. I have them. Lots of them right now, thanks to the ungrateful, cruel writers of The Walking Dead. I’ve been faithfully watching this show for years. YEARS. And like my other favorite show (Game of Thrones, duh), the writers aren’t scared to kill off characters. I’m generally fine with this irreverent writing style, but on each show, I have a character who I consider a sacred cow. They’re untouchable. Guess who died this past episode? Yep. Yep. I’m not okay, thanks for asking.
You know what’s good for helping you deal with unwanted feelings? Pasta. Lots and lots of it, drenched in a tomato sauce that will make you groan. Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Butter and Onion Sauce, to be exact. I’m a bit of a weirdo in that I’m obsessed with vintage cookbooks. I don’t want today’s Better Homes and Garden’s cookbook, I want the vintage edition with the jello mold salads and stuff and rack of lamb with mint jelly. I figure that I’m immersed in today’s recipes and cooking techniques every day. I love a good, vintage cookbook that takes me back in time.
A few years ago, I spotted an old copy Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking in a thrift store. I snatched it up. It’s since become one of my favorites, as evidenced by the sauce splattered pages. Marcella is famous for her Tomato, Butter and Onion Sauce. I’m ashamed to say that while I’ve enjoyed many of her recipes, I’ve yet to try this sauce. My self-pity following this week’s episode of The Walking Dead led me to this place. My fellow TWD fans, join me in eating your feelings!
Putting butter in tomato sauce sounds a bit strange perhaps. But what it does for the tomatoes is pure magic. It makes the canned tomatoes taste fresh, somehow. The sauce comes out velvety and rich. It’s incredible. I pondered a protein to top this pasta, and landed on scallops. This cookbook also sold me on bay scallops. Realistically, we can’t afford to eat sea scallops very often, but sweet little bay scallops help us get by, and are so easy to cook. The cook time on these scallops is less than two minutes total! Get your sauce and pasta started, then cook the scallops right before you’re ready to eat. They’re best when they are piping hot, so don’t let them sit too long.
- 1.5 lb spaghetti or spaghettini
- 2 cans whole tomatoes, peeled
- 5 tbsp butter
- 1/2 small onion, skin removed (do not dice!)
- 1 lb bay scallops, defrosted
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 tbsp bread crumbs (I use panko, always)
- 2 tsp parsley
- 3 tbsp parmesan, grated
- Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and lightly dress in olive oil to keep noodles from sticking together.
- In a medium sauce pan, add tomatoes. Rough crush the tomatoes with your hands. Add butter and onion (do not dice!) Set to a low simmer for 30-45 minutes, stir occasionally.
- About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, start the scallops. Rinse them, then pat dry with a paper towel.
- Add olive oil and garlic to a small skillet. Saute garlic for 2-3 minutes until it gets fragrant. Add scallops to skillet, and continue to saute for 10-20 seconds (seriously), then remove from heat. Vigorously move the scallops around the pan until they turn opaque.
- Turn your oven broiler to high. Add bread crumbs, parsley and parmesan to the scallop skillet, and stir to combine. Add the skillet to the top rack of the oven, and broil for a little less than one minute.
- Fish the onion pieces out of the sauce. Dress noodles with tomato butter sauce, then top with a scoopful of scallops. Serve with extra parmesan cheese.