January 29, 2012

Scallop Basil Fettuccini - a beautiful thing

Simple is gorgeous, and this pasta really is very simple. The flavour of the sauce is uncomplicated and lovely, with subtle anise and basil playing off each other over a background of creamy goodness. It is perfect without trying.

As with everything you cook, I would encourage you to taste as you do so and adjust seasonings to your taste. I don't like a lot of salt in my food, so you may need to add more. Also, I highly recommend making your own pasta. Homemade pasta is a completely different product from the dry boxed pasta that is so common. If, however, you don't have time to make your own pasta, use a whole-grain boxed variety, which is also very good.


Fettuccini noodles
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I used all-purpose, although if you have can get farino di grano tenero tipo 00, use that)
  • 3 jumbo eggs

Method
  1. Place the flour in a medium bowl; make a well in the center.
  2. Break the eggs into the well; stir with a fork.
  3. Continue working the flour into the eggs until it forms a firm dough. The dough should be firm and smooth; not wet, nor crumbly. If it is too dry to form a firm, smooth ball, add a teaspoon of water.
  4. Knead the dough for ten minutes on a lightly floured surface. The dough should be firm, but not hard. It should hold an indent when poked with your thumb, then gradually spring back. If the dough seems too soft or is sticky, knead in a bit more flour.
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place in a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Roll the dough into a size and shape appropriate for your pasta rolling/cutting machine, or roll out with a rolling pin until it is very thin then cut into strips with a knife. Place the cut pasta on a clean towel to dry for a few minutes. You will only need half of the noodles for this recipe, so you can store the rest by wrapping it in plastic wrap and placing it in the fridge where it will remain good for 3 days.
  7. Boil the noodles for 3-4 minutes.

Sauce
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup white wine or champagne
  • 1/3 cup light cream (half-and-half)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of anise seeds
  • 5 large leaves of fresh basil
  • 6 large sea scallops (~3/4 pound)

Method
  1. Melt the butter in a frypan. Add the onion, garlic, and anise seeds. Saute until the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the wine to the onions; heat only until hot. Remove from heat; set aside for two minutes.
  3. Using a blender or a small food processor, blend the cream/onion sauce until it is smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a clean frypan, heat 1 tbsp of butter. When the butter is melted and pan is very hot, add the scallops. Do not crowd the scallops as they will stew in the juices they release, rather than sear. Cook the scallops without disturbing them until a caramel colour forms on the underside (This is called searing. Usually caramelly sticky stuff will also form in the bottom of the pan which will be a good indication of what is going on underneath the scallops. If you are not sure if the scallops are getting a nice caramel colour underneath, you you may peek under one). When the scallops are seared, flip to cook the other side. Again, do not move them around in the pan.
  5. When the scallops are cooked, place between two hot plates to keep warm while you de-glaze the scallop fry pan with the wine/onion sauce over medium heat. (Don't skip this step as the caramelly stuff in the bottom of the fry pan adds lots of flavour to the sauce!)
  6. After de-glazing the frypan, add the cream to the hot wine sauce. Heat until steamy, but not allow the sauce to boil after adding the cream.
  7. Cut the fresh basil into thin strips.
  8. Add the sauce to the cooked noodles along with the basil. Stir. Plate; top with the seared scallops.

This seems like a long recipe but it really is quite simple. After making the noodles, it will take only about 15 minutes to make the sauce and boil the noodles. Timing, is, however, the key as you will have a lot of things going on all at once for that 15 minutes. First, get the water boiling for the pasta. Then, saute the onions and add the wine, and blend. Then, sear the scallops. When the scallops are finished searing, immediately put the noodles in the boiling water, and finish the sauce with the cream (be sure to taste the sauce at this point to see if it is salted to your liking). By the time you are finished the sauce, the noodles will be done and the scallops should still be hot. Plate, and serve!

Serves 2.

Om nom nom!

5:00

7 comments:

MercyMathews said...

Wow, I'm so glad I chanced upon this blog. Your recipes looks great! Can't wait to try them.

I just started my own blog. Maybe you can drop by sometime.

Monika Borua said...

Nice Blog ! Thank you for your very nice articles. I look forward to visiting your site in the future!
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Klaudia PiÄ…tek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arty Alvarado said...

looks delicious

azieda said...

You made it sound so easy to make pasta. I am new to western cooking, note I wrote western because I from the south asia.. Your blog I just stumbled across, and wondering if you could write on how to choose the right wine for cooking. Thank you.

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Fakhita Sousou said...

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