Seared Scallops with Creamy Fettuccine and Peas

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Simple, yet elegant enough for a dinner party, this beautiful dish is a showstopper. The classic alfredo sauce tastes luxurious, but it’s actually simple to prepare. The recipe makes more sauce than you will need. Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use it within 3 days, tossing it with your favorite pasta and vegetables—and another few tablespoons of cream, if necessary, to loosen it to the proper consistency.


For the alfredo sauce:

  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 12 oz. (375 g) dried fettuccine
  • 1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) frozen or fresh shelled peas
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. (500 g) sea scallops


Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat.

To make the sauce, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the cream. In another saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the warm cream to the butter and stir in the cheese. Add the nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and cook just until it thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. The sauce will continue to cook even after you remove it from the heat, so be careful not to overcook it or your sauce will become too thick. Measure out 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375) and save the rest for another use.

Add the fettuccine to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Ladle 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) of the cooking water into a heatproof bowl and set aside. Drain the pasta in a colander, rinse under cold water, drain again and set aside.

Rinse out the pot you cooked the pasta in and place over medium heat. Add the alfredo sauce and rewarm gently. Add the fettuccine and the peas to the sauce and toss and cook until the pasta is warmed through. If your sauce seems too thick, add the reserved pasta water, 1 Tbs. at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Stir in the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over very low heat.

In a fry pan over high heat, warm the olive oil. Meanwhile, remove the tough tab of muscle from the edge of each scallop, if necessary, and season them all over with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, add the scallops and sear just until rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Divide the fettuccine among plates and top each with the scallops. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Pasta Night, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2014)

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