These scallops are pan seared in a brown butter sage sauce served with orecchiette pasta. A delicious meal for way less than the price at a restaurant. Pair it with a glass of white wine and you’ve got yourself a cozy date night.
All right, so you know this food blog to be mostly healthy food and I’m sure when you see brown butter in the title of this recipe you go, ‘huh?’ Well, here at Meals with Maggie we believe in mod-er-a-tion. There are only two tablespoons of butter in this easy pasta recipe, which is divided among two servings (or three). Save this recipe for one of those cozy fall nights that you and your significant other or friend want to have yourself a fancy meal but don’t want to leave the house.
If only you could smell this sage scallop brown butter sauce, it’s heaven. What about the orecchiette? Little ear shaped pasta sent down from the gods to hold a small morsel of the sauce in its groove. I. just. can’t.
So let’s get into this scallop and brown butter sage sauce recipe…
How to make scallops from frozen
I typically buy scallops from the grocery store at the deli, but this time I wanted to change it up. So I opted for the frozen variety to try (also much more affordable). The verdict? You can barely tell. The frozen sea scallops I purchased were a bit smaller than the ones I normally get and you have to trim the side muscle off. See the picture below…
It’s basically a little tag on the scallop that you can just pull away using your fingers.
Why do you need to remove the side muscle? It’s more fibrous than the rest of the scallop because it’s a muscle. Therefore it will be more firm and tough if you cook it. Most chefs peel or cut it off.
Now onto the brown butter sage sauce…
What is brown butter?
Brown butter is just regular butter which then has been heated and essentially toasted. It is that sweet spot you want right before the butter burns. Brown butter has a deep yellow, slightly brown color and has a nutty flavor. It’s used a lot in baked goods and other French dishes.
How to make scallops in brown butter sage sauce
Thaw the scallops and make sure to pat them dry. If you are not using frozen scallops, ask your deli to give you the drier scallops (don’t get the ones sitting in water). A better sear comes with a drier scallop. Once they are dry, season them with a little salt and pepper on a paper towel.
Make sure the pan you are using is on high heat and add 1 tbsp of butter to the pan. Place the scallops in the pan up right and let them sit for 2 minutes. Add another 1/2 tbsp of butter and some sage leaves. Flip the scallops and leave them for another 1-2 minutes. Spoon some of the butter over the scallops to add more flavor. You can also move your pan around a little to swish the butter to go to every scallop.
After the 1-2 minutes is up, remove the scallops from the pan using tongs and set aside. Add mushrooms, shallots and another 1/2 tbsp of butter to the pan. Cover with a lid so the juices from the mushrooms secrete and mingle with the shallots. Don’t forget to add in 1/2 cup of the pasta water to make the sauce nice and starchy.
I love this easy pasta recipe because it incorporated SAGE, an herb I never quite know what to eat with. My mom always gives me piles of it from her garden, but now I can make this delicious sage sauce with it.
If you try this recipe I would LOVE TO SEE IT. Cheers to a happy date night!Print
This scallops with brown butter sage sauce recipe is served with orecchiette pasta and garnished with pine nuts and parmesan. Pair it with a glass of white wine for a cozy date night in.
2 tbsp shallot, diced
1/2 box (or 6 ounces) orecchiette pasta
1/2 cup pasta water (reserved)
16 ounces portobello mushrooms, sliced
8–10 sea scallops
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
3–4 sprigs of fresh sage leaves
Garnish: pine nuts, parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package instruction in salted water. Before draining pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside.
- Pat scallops with paper towel until dry. Remove any side muscle if the scallop has one. Season the scallops with salt and pepper on one side.
- In a sauté pan, add 1 tbsp of butter over medium high heat. Just as butter starts to melt and swirls around in pan, add the scallops. Turn down the heat to medium high so the butter doesn’t burn. Leave scallops in the pan for 2 minutes on one side. Add 1/2 tbsp more butter and some torn sage leaves. Using tongs, flip scallops over for another 1-2 minutes. Feel free to swirl the pan around or spoon the butter and sage onto the scallops. Be careful not to over cook! Once the scallops are done cooking, remove and set aside on a plate.
- Return to the sauté pan and add remaining butter and mushrooms. Place a lid on the pan and let the mushrooms cook down for 2 minutes. Add the diced shallot and a few more tears of the sage leaves, placing the lid back on to cook down more.
- Add the reserved pasta water (1/2 cup) to the mushroom mixture, stir and return heat down to low. Add the cooked pasta and more sage leaves if desired. Option to garnish with pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
If you don’t have orecchiette pasta, you can use pretty much any pasta here!
See above picture for how to remove side muscle and more information about fresh vs. frozen scallops
Keywords: brown butter sage sauce, easy pasta recipe, scallop pasta recipe,
Vegan and looking for a date night or easy pasta recipe? Check out my vegan carbonara pasta!