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Amazing Bay Scallops Pasta

You will feel like a 5-star Italian chef when you make this bay scallops recipe! Parmesan Bay Scallops served with a decadent tomato butter pasta. 

Amazing Bay Scallops Recipe

Feelings. I have them. And you know what I do with unwanted feelings? I eat them. If you find me in the kitchen cooking Italian food, like this bay scallops recipe, you can be certain I'm working through some powerful emotion. 

Amazing Bay Scallops Recipe

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. I got the inspiration for the SAUCE for this bay scallops recipe from one of my favorite old cookbooks. 

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 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. 

Amazing Bay Scallops Recipe

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 and it has become one of my favorite pasta sauces! This is the sauce we use on this bay scallops recipe!

Amazing Bay Scallops Recipe

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!

Where do you buy bay scallops? I find mine in the freezer section at ALDI! For real! 

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.

If you love this bay scallops recipe, I think you'll also enjoy this Easy Scallop Scampi and my Pan Seared Scallops in Vermouth Cream Sauce!

Bay Scallops Pasta Recipe

Bay Scallops Pasta Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1.5 lb spaghetti or spaghettini

For the sauce

  • 2 cans whole tomatoes, peeled
  • 5 tablespoon butter
  • ½ small onion, skin removed (do not dice!)

For the scallops

  • 1 lb bay scallops, defrosted
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoon bread crumbs (I use panko, always)
  • 2 teaspoon parsley
  • 3 tablespoon parmesan, grated


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and lightly dress in olive oil to keep noodles from sticking together.
  2. 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.
  3. About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, start the scallops. Rinse them, then pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Did you make this recipe?

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Like this Parmesan Scallops with Tomato Butter Spaghetti recipe? I think that you'd also love my Crab Linguine Carbonara or Walnut Bourbon Pork Tenderloin.

scallops with tomato butter spaghetti


Friday 22nd of October 2021

Trying you Cod with Tarragon Cream Tonight. As I was scrolling through you blog, I saw this recipe which I definitely want to try. I am commenting as I am just like you…I love my cookbook from my Mom which is 65-70 years old. I have the newer version which I never use. I love the old Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe in the old book. It was my mom’s favorite.

Michelle Goth

Monday 25th of October 2021

Hi Lorna! I hope you enjoyed the cod! I just really love older cookbooks, I have quite the collection now! Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday 30th of October 2015

This sounds so yummy! I will be giving this one a try.


Monday 2nd of November 2015

Thanks Leigh!

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