This savory Scallops Puttanesca dish is fast, easy and fantastic – slightly spicy with fresh garlic and basil and packs a tangy punch with the briny, flavor of kalamata olives and capers.
If there’s one thing I love on a weeknight, it’s a fast and easy recipe that is spicy, salty, savory, mouth-watering and nap worthy.
This is one of those recipes that is fresh and light, but it will be ssssoooo good that you’ll beg for more. Soon, you’ll realize you over-indulged and you’ll hear yourself say “Good night! I gotta go take a nap…, I overate!” Don’t ask me how I know that. 🙂
I’ve always been a fan of Puttanesca, and it’s the dish I most often order when I go to an Italian restaurant. With the spice of the red pepper flakes and the mouth-watering taste of the briny kalamata olives and capers and the flavor of fresh garlic and basil, my heart melts every single time I see it on the menu. Let’s just say – when I see it, it doesn’t take me long to order!
Now, the husband will tell you that I pour (for hours, it seems) over the entire menu, reading it cover-to-cover, word-for-word, at every single restaurant that we visit. He’s right, I do, but I’m much faster at it, when I spot me some spicy Puttanesca! 🙂
What I love about Puttanesca is it’s so versatile! You can use basil or parsley, and for your protein, you can opt for beef, chicken, sausage or seafood (shrimp, scallops, squid, white fish). And, I also love that you can control the heat simply by using either 1/4, 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes – which means you can spice it how you like it.
The other thing I love about it is, it’s convenient, fast, easy and they are ingredients that are pantry staples!
If you do decide to use scallops as the recipe is written, be careful to not overcook them. When scallops are overcooked, they will get rubbery, chewy and tough. =epic fail. Trust me, don’t do this or you’ll be disappointed in the end result!
The key to cooking the perfect scallops is to get a nice sear on each side, with a soft, moist (yet done) center. So, watch them closely!
As you can see from the photographs, my scallops were BIG. They were not mini, baby or small scallops, which you often find at the grocery store. If you do happen to buy small scallops, please just remember that they will cook very quickly – so watch them closely and turn when needed.
Salty, briny, SAVORY and mouth-watering. Who doesn’t love that?
Yum! Yes, I’ll have some!
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (for sauce)
- 6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
- 20 kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons capers
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (for scallops)
- 1 pound sea scallops, thawed (if frozen)
- 1 # spaghetti noodles, cooked per package instructions
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, garlic, anchovy paste, and crushed red pepper to the pan. Saute mixture until anchovy paste melts into the oil and garlic is tender (2 - 3 minutes). Add tomatoes with juice, olives, capers, basil and black pepper. Bring sauce to a bubble, reduce heat, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil to another pan and heat over medium to medium-high heat. Place scallops in pan and sear on each side until cooked through, being careful not to over-cook!
- Toss spaghetti with sauce, then top with scallops and garnish with reserved basil.
1 tablespoon of olive oil for the sauce
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of anchovy paste instead of anchovies
You will use the basil in the sauce while simmerimg, and reserve some on the side for garnishing the dish.
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste = 2 anchovy fillets, per What's Cooking America.
Sprinkle scallops with black pepper but NOT salt. The capers and kalamata olives take care of the necessary salt in this dish. If you do need to add salt, do it at the table when serving. 🙂