Creamy Scallop Baked Pasta
This creamy scallop baked pasta is one of my favorite dishes. It is simple to make and its creaminess makes it wonderful comfort food. I love scallops. In fact, I love all kinds of seafood! This is also a dish my husband enjoys whenever I made it.
The fact that this contains scallops makes it a gourmet baked pasta dish. Every time I make creamy scallop baked pasta, I make it slightly differently, so I offer different options in the recipe so you can tailor it to your own palate.
I like to add spinach or bell pepper, both for color and for nutrients and added flavor. I use frozen scallops because I don’t have much option where I live. I like to thaw them overnight in the refrigerator, then pat them dry using plenty of paper towels.
I would not serve these by themselves but they are wonderful in a pasta dish or you could use them in a chowder or similar.
Creamy Scallop Baked Pasta: The Versatility of Scallops
Something else I like to do with scallops is combine them with shrimp, mussels and other shellfish and then toss with sesame oil, lemon juice and garlic to make an Asian salad, and that is really good too. But when we are in the mood for comfort food nothing beats this scallop baked pasta.
I made this creamy scallop baked pasta for some family members when they came over. I cooked the components of the dish beforehand and then spooned everything into a baking dish and topped it with cheese. I planned to keep it chilled then bake it, but the family were hungry so the dish went straight into the oven to get nice and hot!
Use any kind of pasta shapes – penne, twisty pasta, wheels, shells, anything you like. You can choose from whole wheat or white pasta too. The same goes for the veggies.
Throw in anything you want to use up. Just bear in mind the dish only goes into the oven to melt the cheese on top and heat it through, so if you are taking this dish directly from the stovetop to the oven, it will need far less time than if you want to make it and chill it for cooking 6 hours later, for example.
Creamy Scallop Baked Pasta is A Lovely Dish to Make
Don’t be put off when you see 4 pots on the stove, because managing all of these at once is easy and you can drain and cover the pasta, keeping it warm until needed, or let anything else sit. As long as you combine everything and bake the dish for the right amount of time, it will come out perfectly.
I invented this creamy scallop baked pasta dish because I love pasta, I love scallops, and I had some of each to use up, and I was really pleased with the result and decided it didn’t need any tweaks, although of course you may tweak it if you wish.
- ½ pound (230g) dried pasta shapes
- 12 fresh or frozen scallops
- 1 tablespoon butter or oil, for sauteeing
- ½ chopped onion
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- Handful of vegetables (mushrooms, bell pepper or zucchini perhaps)
- 14 ounce (400g) jar creamy mushroom pasta sauce (or similar)
- Handful of grated mozzarella, cheddar or your favorite cheese
- Few fresh basil leaves (optional)
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Cook the pasta until al dente (cooked but not too soft).
- Ensure the scallops are very dry (especially if you thawed them) and then saute them in butter or oil until just done.
- Cut them in half or quarters.
- Saute the onion and garlic for 2 minutes, then add the veggies and cook until tender.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- Stir in the scallops, veggies, creamy pasta sauce, and a grinding each of salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the cheese over the top and add some torn, fresh basil leaves if liked.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and bake until the cheese has melted.
- If you are making this ahead, it will need about 40 minutes to heat through.
I sometimes serve this with garlic bread for a real carb-feast!
Use any kind of pasta sauce you want, a tomato-based one would work too.
Throw in some chopped cooked bacon too if you like, or some walnut halves.
You might also like to add a pinch of mixed dried herbs to the pasta and scallop mixture.