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Brown Butter Scallops + Walnut Pesto Pasta

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes


Walnut Pesto:

  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 ¼ cups fresh basil + more as garnish
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice from ¼ lemon
  • ½ pound pasta of choice (I used whole wheat spaghetti)

Brown Butter Scallops:

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil
  • ½ 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 ½ 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