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Pasta with Scallops and Roasted Red Pepper Pesto


Adapted from “Cooking for Two” by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen (America's Test Kitchen, $35).

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  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 3/4 cup roasted red peppers, patted dry and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small shallot, peeled, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound pasta (about 3 cups dry)
  • 1/2 pound dry (not soaked in water) sea scallops, patted dry


Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 30mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Place the garlic in a skillet over medium heat. Toast the garlic, shaking the pan often, until the skins are spotty brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the garlic, cool and then peel and coarsely chop.

In a food processor place the garlic, peppers, Parmesan and ricotta cheese, parsley, 1 tablespoon olive oil, shallot, thyme and ¼ teaspoon salt; process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and season as needed with salt and black pepper.

At this point the pesto can be covered with plastic wrap (press the wrap directly onto the surface of the pesto) and refrigerated up to 3 days.

Bring large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Season it with kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook, stirring often, until al dente, about 8 minutes. When done, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet in which the garlic was toasted. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet and sear until nicely browned on each side, 3 minutes each side for 1½- to 2-inch diameter scallops.

Add the pesto to the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Add reserved pasta water a little at a time until it's a sauce consistency. Place in serving bowls and top with seared scallops.

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