Pappardelle with sage butter sauce, roasted acorn squash and pan seared scallops
A medley of perfectly balanced flavors...
- 8 ounces Pappardelle pasta (Cipriani brand - see TIPS)
- 2 pounds large diver scallops (U-10's)
- 6 cloves garlic cloves, crushed
- 8 to 10 each 8 to 10 each fresh sage leaves - large, divided
- 2 -3 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh parsley ...pluse some for garnish
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + some for sautéing the scallops
- 1/2 cup sweet red vermouth ...good quality Martini & Rossi Rosso
- 2 cups acorn squash - one large squash
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar firmly packed
- 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
- Dash ground nutmeg - for the pasta sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg - for the squash
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
- Dash cayenne pepper ...just a dash
- 1 cup cracker meal - very fine mesh for dusting the scallops
Prepare and Bake the Acorn Squash
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2 Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place face-up on an oven safe baking dish such as a pie plate.
3 Melt 1/3 of the butter in a microwave (use the defrost setting). Tightly roll 2 medium to large sage leaves lengthwise and finely julienne. Add the julienne cut sage, brown sugar, Herbes de Provence, nutmeg for the squash, ground white pepper, and cayenne pepper to the melted butter. Baste the squash with the butter mixture and bake at 350 degrees until fork tender but NOT mushy, about 35 to 40 minutes. Do not rely solely on recommended cook times. The size and ripeness of the squash and individual oven calibration can significantly change coking times. See TIPS.
4 Allow the squash to cool completely and then carefully remove the fruit from the skin with a large serving spoon. Carefully dice the squash with a large chef's knife into 3/4 inch cubes. Set aside or refrigerate if preparing the squash in advance.
Prepare the Pasta Sauce
1 Add 2/3 of the butter and olive oil to a large sauté or frying pan. Smash the garlic with a chef's knife to remove the skin (leave whole) and add to the butter-oil mixture. Sauté over medium heat until the garlic is golden brown (about 5 minutes). Add the vermouth. Cook until the volume is reduced by about 50%. Remove from heat. Julienne the remaining sage leaves as before and add to the butter mixture. Set aside.
Prepare the Scallops
1 Dry the scallops thoroughly with paper towels. This prevents splatter, and a mess, when sautéing.
2 Place the cracker meal in a large plastic bag, add the scallops and shake vigorously. Remove the scallops to a plate and shake-off excess cracker meal. Set aside. This may have to be done in batches.
Cook the Pasta
1 Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. When the water is vigorously boiling, drop the past and cook for 4 minutes if using the recommended pasta, otherwise follow the manufacturer's cooking recommendation. Drain the pasta and set aside. See TIPS.
Sauté the Scallops
1 Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying or sauté pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot (shimmering), quickly add the scallops without over-crowding. Sauté until lightly brown to golden brown and then turn until lightly brown on the other side (about 1.5 minutes per side). DO NOT over cook scallops. They should be rare and still translucent in the center. See recipe photo. Remember the scallops will continue to cook when removed from the pan. Remove the scallops to a room temperature plate and set aside.
Finish and Assemble the Dish
1 Chop the parsley.
2 Re-heat the sauce over medium heat and add the squash. When hot add the drained pasta. Stir to warm and coat the pasta. Stir in the parsley and plate the pasta. Arrange the scallops over the pasta. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and grated parmesan if desired. Serve
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately difficult
Oven Temperature: 350°F
Preparing and baking the squash ahead of time makes this dish much easier. Up to a day in advance is fine.
The cooking time for the squash can be significantly reduced by microwaveing the raw squash on high for a few minutes before basting and baking.
We strongly recommend using Cipriani Pappardelle. This pasta is extremely thin and very delicious. It's a bit hard to find. We found the best price is at The Fresh Market. See their website for locations. It can also be ordered from Fresh Market via the internet at http://www.freshmarket.com/online-market/detail.aspx?ID=160 ; or from Amazon.com, but the price is substantially higher. Cipriani Pappardelle comes in 250 gram boxes, 8.82 ounces.
A suitable alternative pasta may be very thin egg noodles found in pasta section of most grocery stores.
We recommend only diver scallops. The best we've ever found come from Costco. They are available weekends from their seafood kiosk or anytime frozen in 2 pound bags. They are day-boat scallops without any preservatives.
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