Disclosure: I received free Barilla Collezione Regional Specialties Pasta products that were utilized in this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
An easy, delicious dinner option for any night of the week! Spaghetti alla Chitarra pasta is paired with pesto sauce, pan seared sea scallops and fresh Parmesan Reggiano cheese for a wonderfully delicious meal!
Just over ten years ago, my husband was sent on extended international business travel with his company….to Italy! The assignment was for six months, so it was short enough where I couldn’t quit my job in the U.S. to go with him, but long enough to miss him dearly. He was in Avezzano, Italy, which is in the central Abruzzo region east of Rome. While he was there I was able to make a couple trips over to visit, which for this small town girl, was the adventure of a lifetime. While in Italy, Jason and I traveled to Florence, Venice and Rome and all of the little towns in between. I can say with resounding confidence that during this trip I had some of the most amazing food of my life!
There were many memorable dishes we had in Italy, but there was one in particular I remember fondly. It was a very simple pesto pasta dish. The pasta was cooked perfectly al-dente and the basil in the pesto was probably just picked that very day. Ever since I had that pasta in Italy, I’ve been desperate to find really good quality pasta. So when I tried the Barilla Collezione Regional Specialties pasta, specifically the Spaghetti alla Chitarra from the Abruzzo region, I had to try it! I immediately wanted to make that pesto pasta dish that I had back in Italy.
The Spaghetti alla Chitarra pasta is actually a square shaped chute, that is wonderful for a sauce like pesto. The shape of the pasta gives a nice texture to every bite, and when cooked al-dente is the perfect.
In Italy, dinner is typically served in courses with the meat and pasta always served separately. Its just in America that we put our pastas and meats together in one dish. (Why that happened, I have no idea!) I decided to pair this delicious pasta with light, sweet pan seared sea scallops. I added a bit of the pesto sauce to the tops of the scallops, which was the perfect savory addition to the sweet scallops.
This dish is incredibly easy to pull together, especially on a weeknight, or after a busy day.
Here is the easy recipe for Pesto Pasta with Scallops:
- 1 (12 oz.) box, Spaghetti alla Chitarra Barilla Pasta
- 1 (8.1 oz) jar prepared pesto, or fresh made pesto
- 1 lb. fresh or frozen sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- fresh shaved Parmesan Reggiano cheese
- In a large stock pot, begin boiling water to cook pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions, about 7-8 minutes for al dente.
- While pasta cooks, in a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil on high heat. Add the fresh scallops and let sear on one side for about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high, turn the scallops and cook on the other side for about 4 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the pasta is done cooking, drain, and add the pesto sauce to the hot pasta, reserving 2 Tbsp of pesto to top the scallops. (No need to heat the pesto in a pan.) Toss the sauce and pasta until fully coated. Immediately serve the hot pasta with the seared scallops, and top with the reserved pesto. Add some fresh shaved Parmesan cheese to each dish. Enjoy!
I typically enjoy making fresh pesto, using basil from the farmers market, however, it’s the dead of winter, so I used prepared pesto.
In less than 30 minutes, you’ll have an amazing dinner for any night of the week. This dinner pairs wonderfully with a nice Chardonnay or Pinot Gris.
I hope you enjoy this dinner as much as my husband and I have. We may not get back to Italy in this lifetime, but with this dinner we are reminded of an adventure that we’ll never forget!