a bowl of scallop pasta with cut citrus, salt and a napkin to the side


Scallop Pasta with Spring Greens

Scallops can be intimidating. They might seem more at home at a restaurant than in your kitchen, but with a little trick you can easily pull them off.
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Scallops are a versatile and delicious protein, and this pasta dish showcases them beautifully alongside #PeakOfSeason green garlic, spring onions, and fresh baby arugula. The sharpness of the Pecorino Romano cheese and saltiness of the guanciale (or bacon) add up to an impressive pasta that’s fancy enough for a dinner party, and easy enough for a special weeknight at home. [Editor’s Note: This recipe was created for Bi-Rite by Emily Cooper @emilycoopercooks.]


1 pound fresh scallops  

Kosher salt  

1 pound dried bucatini or spaghetti  

4 ounces diced guanciale or bacon  

1/4 cup olive oil, divided  

2 teaspoons freshly cracked pepper  

4 stalks green garlic, finely chopped, or 4 cloves regular garlic, smashed 

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) 

1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon) 

1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving 

4 cups baby arugula  

2 tablespoons vegetable or neutral oil  

1 tablespoon butter, cubed 


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  

Remove the scallops from the refrigerator and use a paper towel to pat dry. Sprinkle with kosher salt on both sides and set aside.  

When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente, or 1 minute less than package instructions. Use a ladle to scoop out 1 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta.  

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high and add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the guanciale or bacon. Cook until crisp, 5-7 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, ground black pepper, green garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  

Add the pasta, cheese, and lemon juice to the skillet. Drizzle reserved pasta water over the pan, and use tongs to toss everything together until a thin sauce forms to coat the pasta, 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and more pepper. Add the arugula, cover, and keep warm.  

Pat the scallops with paper towels again to get them as dry as possible. Heat a large well-seasoned cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high (you can also use non-stick, but the scallops won’t get as golden of a crust).  

When the pan begins to give off wisps of smoke (2-3 minutes), add vegetable oil to coat. Working in batches as necessary (crowding will prevent a crust), add the scallops to the pan.  

Without moving the scallops, cook undisturbed until a golden crust forms. Wait until they have become opaque half of the way up, 3-4 minutes then flip and add 1 tablespoon cubed butter and smashed garlic or chopped green garlic stalks. Cook for 30 seconds longer, while tilting the pan towards yourself and using a large spoon to baste the butter over the scallops. 

Uncover the pasta and stir to incorporate the wilted arugula.  

Divide the pasta between shallow bowls, top with the seared scallops and sprinkle more cheese if you’d like.