I try to eat healthy foods, but every once in a while I slip up. I will randomly have a craving for something that no matter how careful I am about how much of it I eat it’s just plain bad for me. Carbonara is one of those things—I feel like a mere teaspoon of it will cause me to gain at least a pound. But can it be that bad? Well… It’s pasta in a sauce made from egg yolks, parmesan cheese, butter, and cream that’s topped with bacon. It’s not just a little indulgent, it’s the very definition of indulgence. And it’s so good! I’ve never made it at home, though, and I’ve never had it topped with seafood. That’s about to change when I try this Carbonara with Pan Seared Scallops recipe.
Perfectly seared scallops served with a quick and simple carbonara pasta.
The whole reason I decided to make this recipe was that I had a package of frozen scallops and a nice big piece of Parmigiano Reggiano I needed to use up. Add the eggs, butter, olive oil, and garlic I had, and I was halfway there.
That left me to buy the shallots, green onions, heavy cream, bacon, and linguine. Not exactly a huge shopping list, which is the kind I like.
Despite being such a decadent dish, the time listed to prepare it was 30 minutes. I always love a quick and easy meal, and this Carbonara with Pan Seared Scallops was exactly that. Here’s how my time was spent:
- 4 minutes to grate the parmesan
- 27 minutes to cook
- 31 minutes total
This recipe has a lot of steps, but they are broken down nicely. Plus, half are for the pasta and the rest are for the scallops, making things even more manageable.
Having everything prepped is essential because this recipe moves fast once the bacon and pasta are done. I managed to get all the prep work done while they cooked.
Start with the Pasta
I kicked things off by grating my own parmesan. I know, you can buy it grated, but I happened to have a block in my refrigerator. It took some elbow grease and a few minutes to do.
Next, I got started on the bacon. I wasn’t impressed with the thickness of the “thick cut” bacon I bought, but it worked out. And even though I used my 12-inch nonstick skillet (the largest I have) to fry it, I could only fit 6 of the strips in at first. I had to wait for those to shrink before adding the last 2. Tip: don’t drain that bacon fat when you’re done—it becomes part of the sauce.
One thing that puzzled me was that there were no instructions to cut up the bacon either before or after frying it. I left it whole, and it broke up when I mixed in the pasta and sauce (step 8). The bacon’s thinness actually made it easier to break up.
Finish with the Scallops
The instructions for searing the scallops were wonderful, and I have to admit they turned out very nicely. I do think the ones I used were on the small side, so used the minimum cooking time and made them in a single batch. They didn’t sear as nicely as the larger ones (they rolled around instead of sitting flat), but they had a nice texture and taste in the end.
BTW, I used the same pan I fried the bacon in (after wiping with a paper towel) to cut down on dishes to wash up. That along with a large pot to boil the pasta, a large colander to drain it, and my largest mixing bowl were essential equipment. I also love my pasta spoon for noodles, but a regular mixing spoon would also work.