Brown Butter Scallops + Walnut Pesto Pasta

Dinner, Pasta

My single friends searching for long-term relationships often ask me for advice on the subject. While I am not a professional, I usually tell them this:

NO ONE is perfect. You just have to find someone who has potential and then try and change them into who you want them to be!!! 😬😬😬

My friends usually laugh when I tell them this but it’s sort of true! When you meet someone and start hanging out with them, they’re not gonna know what you like and dislike and what annoys you and what makes you happy. So you have to communicate this in a not-so-terrible way.

Also, when Josh and I first starting dating, I didn’t totally expose how crazy and weird I am. He fell in love with me AND then I slowly showed him the absolute true me. By then it was way too late. MUAHAHAHA! 😬

Poor Joshua.

This year Valentine’s Day lands smack dab in the middle of the week. On a Tuesday no less. This is a meal that can be made in literally 30 minutes. It’s so easy and delicious and comforting. Browned butter and scallops are always a favorite of mine.

I made this dish with whole wheat pasta which if we’re all being honest with each other isn’t THAT much healthier than regular pasta so choose what you like.

The pesto is my favorite and I could eat it on anything. It’s super nutty because of the large amount of walnuts. And while it’s comforting, it’s still really light and fresh-tasting.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Hug your bf/gf, husband/wife, call your mama, hug your dog. Love is cool.

P.S. Another AMAZING weeknight V-Day meal would be these Double-Decker tacos that I made for the Super Bowl but let’s be real is there anything more romantic?!?

Brown Butter Scallops + Walnut Pesto Pasta

0 from 0 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


Walnut Pesto:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh basil + more as garnish
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice from 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 pound pasta, of choice (I used whole wheat spaghetti)

Brown Butter Scallops:

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil
  • 1/2 pound scallops, about 6 to 8
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed


To make the pesto:

  • To a blender, add the walnuts, fresh basil, Parmesan, olive oil, salt, crushed red pepper, garlic clove, lemon juice and a few pinches of salt. Pulse until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. Give it a taste and adjust the salt and crushed red pepper to your liking.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta per the package’s instructions (mine said about 9 minutes). Scoop out about 1/2 cup of pasta water (you can eyeball this measurement) and set it aside. Drain the pasta and transfer it back to the pot. Pour in the pesto, along with a splash of pasta water. Give it a toss and cover the pot with a lid so it stays warm.

To cook the scallops:

  • Start by patting the scallops dry with a paper towel (this helps with them getting nice and browned). Sprinkle both sides with a teeny bit of salt. In a small skillet, set over medium-high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the scallops, cooking on each side for about 1 to 2 minutes, until nice and golden brown. Repeat until you’ve worked your way through all of the scallops. Set them aside. Add the butter to the pan and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it goes from melted to foamy to nutty and browned. Remove immediately.

To assemble:

  • Divide the pasta amongst to bowls. Top with the scallops and a few spoonfuls of the browned butter. Garnish with little basil leaves.
Serving: 2g
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Recipe Rating

  • Reply Chloe (Musings on Dinner) July 12, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    I know Valentine’s Day has long passed but I came across this and it looks beautiful. I love brown butter in combination with pasta

  • Reply Anastasia February 15, 2017 at 2:06 am

    What a great recipe! My husband loves pasta, so it would be a perfect Valentine’s dish for him! And I really have to try a walnut pesto, it sound amazing.

  • Reply alana February 14, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    AHAHAHAHA i died reading “poor joshua” cause I’m pretty sure you said the same thing IRL!!

    I should have shared this recipe with moses for his very amazing valentine’s day meal. shucks. next year.

  • Reply Izzy | pinch of delight February 13, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Looks so good! x
    Izzy -

  • Reply Kari February 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    These sound so romantic!

  • Reply Mary February 13, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Wow! What an amazing combo! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Reply Adrienne | Appetites Anonymous February 13, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Brown butter scallops are amazing!! Excited to try these with walnut pesto pasta!! 🙂

  • Reply Mollie February 13, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Oh my goodness, just reading the title made my mouth water! Definitely saving this to make for the bf… this sounds right up our alley!

    xoxo Mollie

  • Reply Lori February 13, 2017 at 6:33 am

    We are planning to make scallops tomorrow, and these sound amazing!

  • Reply Gabi Valladares February 13, 2017 at 4:20 am

    Ohh those scallops look absolutely delicious! Though in reality, you already had me at brown butter