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

Yield: Serves 4-5
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1.5 pounds spaghetti or spaghettini

For the sauce:

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

For the scallops:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound bay scallops, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons parsley, dried
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and lightly dressthe pasta in olive oil to keep noodles from sticking together.
  2. Make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, add tomatoes. Rough crush the tomatoes with your hands. Add butter and onion (do not dice!) Set to simmer on low heat for 30-45 minutes, stir occasionally.
  3. About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, start the scallops. Rinse the scallops, then pat them dry with a paper towel.
  4. Make the scallops: In a large oven-safe skillet, add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until it gets fragrant.
  5. Add scallops to skillet and continue to sauté for 20-30 seconds (seriously, that's it), Remove skillet from heat.
  6. Turn your oven broiler to high. Add breadcrumbs, 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.
  7. Finally, finish the sauce. Remove the onion pieces out of the sauce and discard.
  8. Dress noodles with tomato butter sauce, then top with a scoopful of scallops.
  9. Serve warm with extra parmesan cheese (optional).
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 418Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 59mgSodium 664mgCarbohydrates 44gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 23g

The nutrition for this recipe is calculated by an app and may be incorrect.

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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