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Creamy Rigatoni with Seared Scallops

This creamy rigatoni with seared scallops is comfort-food heaven. Perfectly seared scallops nestled into a creamy, spicy sauce make for an incredible dinner!
4.8 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 751kcal


  • Wide pot
  • Large pot
  • Medium Skillet


Spicy Rigatoni:

  • 2 teaspoons neutral cooking oil
  • 1 sweet onion peeled and sliced into thin wedges
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper more or less to taste
  • 1 cup white wine or chicken stock
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes quartered
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 16 ounces dry rigatoni
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 pound dry-packed sea scallops muscle removed
  • 2 teaspoons neutral cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Start the Sauce:

  • In a wide pot, heat the neutral cooking oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes until just beginning to soften.
  • Add the garlic, capers, and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

Deglaze the Pan:

  • Add the white wine and chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Simmer the Sauce:

  • Add the cherry tomatoes to the sauce and bring to a boil. Taste and season lightly with salt and pepper. The capers and chicken stock will lend a lot of salt to this recipe, so be careful with salting too heavily. Reduce heat and simmer as you prepare the rest of the meal.

Boil the Pasta:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook for about 2-3 minutes under al dente.

Finish the Sauce:

  • Pour the heavy cream into the sauce. Scoop out 1/3 cup pasta water from the rigatoni and add it to the sauce. Using a spider strainer, add the slightly undercooked rigatoni directly to the sauce. Bring to a very gentle bubble – not boiling, but slightly above a simmer. And cook for 5-7 minutes more until the sauce is very thick and the pasta is tender. Stir in the lemon juice and minced parsley. Taste and season again to your preference.

Sear the Scallops:

  • Pat the scallops dry. Season lightly with salt and pepper and pat dry again.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat. Melt the butter into the skillet. Once melted and frothy, add the scallops, without overcrowding the pan, and cook for 1-2 minutes until very well seared. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes more until the scallops are opaque and cooked through.
  • Turn off the heat on the scallops and immediately transfer the scallops on top of the pasta in the skillet. Turn off the heat.

To Serve:

  • Divide the pasta and scallops between shallow bowls. Garnish with more minced parsley, if desired. Enjoy!


Calories: 751kcal | Carbohydrates: 107g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 24g | Sodium: 677mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin C: 57mg
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