Scallops & Fresh Pasta with Garlic & Dried Chilies

07/28/2015

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We spent another summer Sunday in my sanctuary that is the sea. This time we took along our friends Ivor and Parker, who know how to find them. We didn’t get our limit, but all of us were satisfied with the catch.

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Parker is one of the best cooks I know; he made this recipe he found from Cooks Illustrated that I swear takes the cake for my Favorite Scallop Dish Ever. This is probably because Parker decided to make the pasta by hand. Pasta making, as he taught me, isn’t difficult, but it does take a little finesse. But believe me, fresh scallops are WORTH it!

Although you can easily make this without fresh pasta or catching your own scallops, instructions for both are below.

To make the pasta:
1 1/2 c unbleached white flour (preferable bread flour)
1 c semolina flour
1/2 t salt
3 large eggs
1 T olive oil
1 T water, or more if needed

Instructions:
Place dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough on the counter and cover with saran wrap or a bowl. Let rest for 30 minutes. When ready to make into pasta, cut the balls into quarters (leaving each quarter wrapped up until ready to use.) With a pasta maker, set the rollers of the pasta machine on the largest setting. The dough will crumble the first couple of passes, but will hold together after two or three rollings. Next, lightly flour the dough, and fold into thirds. Feed through the rollers again. Do this about 5 or so times until the dough is smooth and elastic. Feed through the rollers, each time getting smaller and smaller until the desired thickness is achieved.

Next, feed it through the pasta cutter, careful to catch the cut dough with your hands. You can then dry it by hanging it over a pasta rack or broom handle, or gather it in little “nests” on a cookie sheet to dry. Lightly flour the pasta, and cover with a towel. We let it sit for about 30 minutes before using. Fresh pasta takes considerably less time to cook than dried (usually 1 to 3 minutes) so watch it carefully. To test, remove a noodle with tongs or a long-handled fork and take a bite.

To make the dish:
1 lb scallops
1 lb fresh pasta (or packaged spaghetti)
3 T vegetable oil
1 T olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, lightly crushed
3 dried chili peppers
4 T grated Parmesan

Instructions (almost verbatim from Cooks Illustrated):
First, get the pot of boiling water for the pasta ready. In a large skillet, sear the scallops, as followed in this recipe here. Set aside. In another skillet, heat both oils and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is almost blackened all over, 7-9 minutes (the long cooking time deepens the flavor).

Tear peppers in half; add seeds and pods to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until seeds are dark brown, about 2 minutes. Discard garlic and pods, leaving seeds in oil. Put pasta in water now, if using fresh pasta. Once pasta is cooked, reheat garlic-chili oil until it shimmers.

Using tongs, transfer pasta with some water still clinging to it from pot to skillet (it will splatter; the starchy water helps form the sauce). Add 2 T pasta cooking liquid; remove skillet from heat; toss just until evenly coated, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry.

Divide pasta among bowls and add scallops and Parmesan.

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