Even though I normally don’t go for creamy pasta recipes too often, I’ve been on a kick with creamy pasta with scallops lately and this creamy lemon-dill pasta with bay scallops is where. it’s. at and hit all my creamy pasta cravings.
This easy, fragrant, creamy pasta recipe is ridiculously easy to prepare but fancy enough to serve to a dinner party. If you want to up the ante, you can swap out the smaller bay scallops and serve with big juicy shrimp or succulent sea scallops.
This creamy lemon-dill sauce comes together SO quickly with just a simple roux, chicken stock, light cream (or whole milk), and plenty of lemon and dill. While the fond from the scallops helps add loads of extra flavor to this creamy lemon-dill pasta.
Creamy Lemon-Dill Pasta with Bay Scallops
- 16 ounces pasta linguine is great!
- 1 pound bay scallops
- 1 tablespoon butter plus 1 tablespoon oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon
Creamy Lemon-Dill Sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1¼ chicken stock
- 1 cup light cream or whole milk
- A good shake of paprika optional
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 4 tablespoons fresh dill
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley
- Salt pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the pasta instructions and reserve ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water. Pat the scallops dry and transfer to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and keep in the fridge until ready to cook.
Prepare Ingredients for Lemon-Dill Sauce:
- While the pasta water is coming to a boil, prepare the ingredients for the creamy lemon-dill sauce.
- First, mince the parsley and fresh dill. Next, zest the lemon into one bowl and then juice the lemon into a second bowl. Finally, add the minced herbs to the bowl of lemon juice and set aside. To the bowl of lemon zest, add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper and toss to combine. Set aside.
Cook the Bay Scallops:
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet (large enough to later hold the pasta) over medium-high heat until very hot.
- Add the bay scallops in an even layer and cook without moving for 1 minute. Flip and cook another minute or so until almost cooked through. Do not overcook the scallops – they should have just turned pearly white when you remove them from the skillet. Using a slotted spoon, remove the scallops from the skillet and transfer to a bowl.
- If the scallops produce a lot of liquid while cooking, turn the heat up a bit and cook until the liquid turns golden brown and begins to evaporate. Then, move on to preparing the sauce.
Prepare the Creamy Lemon-Dill Sauce:
- To the skillet add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and cook until frothy and melted. Add the flour and cook until browned (the flour should be completely spread out through the butter), about 1-3 minutes.
- Slowly add the chicken stock one ladle at a time, whisking after each addition until the liquid is completely incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Continue whisking until there are no more clumps of flour. Turn the heat to low and slowly whisk in the light cream until incorporated.
- Taste and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Add the fresh minced herbs in lemon juice and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring regularly, for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced a bit.
Finish the Creamy Lemon-Dill Pasta:
- Taste the sauce and season to your preferences. Add the ¼ cup reserved pasta cooking water along with all but a couple of pinches of the grated cheese and whisk to incorporate.
- Add the pasta and toss to combine. Cook for just about 1-3 minutes or until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Add the bay scallops along with the remaining juice from 1 lemon and toss to combine until the scallops have just reheated, about 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
- Divide the lemon-dill pasta with bay scallops between shallow pasta bowls. Sprinkle a bit of the remaining grated cheese on top of each plate. Enjoy!