This Creamy Lemon Pappardelle with Scallops is only 7 ingredients, and SO flavorful! It’s made with ricotta and mascarpone instead of cream, so it’s a super light pasta dish for summer! The scallops pair perfectly with the bright lemon flavor, but this dish would be wonderful with any seafood!
There aren’t many meals that are as comforting to me as pasta. I grew up eating a TON of it, and it will always be one of those special, nostalgic foods for me. Scallops are another one of those foods. My dad always ate scallops, and he passed that love along to me! So this meal is one of those feel good meals, for sure. And that goes for anyone! Carbs = love.
My love for pasta and scallops are a given, but really every ingredient in this dish is truly one of my favorites. Lemon, check. Basil, check. Creamy mascarpone cheese, major check. Ricotta, check. Parm, check. Obviously.
So many good things!
Just look at those scallops. How perfect are they?!
I will say that scallops are something I’ve always been able to cook really well. I feel weird even typing that out, but people always ask me how I cook my scallops so perfectly.
I learned this method in middle school maybe, and I’ve never made them any other way. It’s seriously foolproof. They key to getting them seared to perfection is to make sure they’re SUPER dry, like dry them off completely with paper towels dry. And don’t salt them until they’re finished cooking, because the salt can draw out moisture, which means less of that crispy brown exterior we all want! You also don’t want to overcook them. I’m talking like 1-2 minutes per side, MAX. And that’s it! Perfectly seared scallops every single time.
My next secret weapon to this pasta dish is using pasta water instead of cream to make a “creamy” sauce. This is also something I’ve been doing forever, and it never fails me. It helps to create the most deliciously creamy pasta, without having to use heavy cream and lots of butter. A lightened-up “cream” sauce, if you will.
I actually prefer this method to the heavier cream based sauces because it’s much lighter and doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down. And look how creamy it is!
All you have to do is reserve a scoop of the pasta water toward the end of the pasta’s cooking time (I usually just scoop it out with a mug), and mix it with creamy mascarpone cheese, ricotta, and a little parm. You are left with the most delicious mixture that coats the pasta noodles perfectly.
Also, what’s more delicious than pappardelle? Thick ribbons of pasta just doesn’t get any better. Right?
This pasta is also SO perfect for summer because it’s filled with super bright lemon flavor, and fresh basil. Two of my favorite flavors to eat by the boatload during the summer. I’m a huge fan of making lots of pesto in the summer, and TONS of caprese salad.
The lemon in this just brings all of the flavors together. I just used the zest of half a lemon and a little squeeze of lemon, and it just brightens up the whole dish and pairs really beautifully with the scallops. Citrus + seafood = amazingness.
If you aren’t a huge scallop fan, you can totally sub shrimp here, or any seafood really. Or you can make a veg version too! The method and flavors here are so versatile, and never steer me wrong. This is definitely one of those back pocket recipes that’s super simple, but really impressive. Perfect for a date-night-in meal too!
And if you love the pasta water fake-out “cream” sauce, this is one of my absolute favorite pappardelle recipes, a little more of a labor of love than this one, but SO worth it. This pasta salad also uses this method, and it’s INSANE.
And I promise just one more: this fettuccine is to die for.
YAY for lightened up cream sauces!
All I want to do is eat a big bowl of this with a glass of wine outside on the patio. If I had a patio. 😂 TGIF! Tell me your weekend plans!
Creamy Lemon Pappardelle with Scallops
This Creamy Lemon Pappardelle with Scallops is only 7 ingredients, and SO flavorful! It's made with ricotta and mascarpone instead of cream, so it's a super light pasta dish for summer! The scallops pair perfectly with the bright lemon flavor, but this dish would be wonderful with any seafood!
For the scallops
- 1 pound jumbo scallops, side muscle removed
- small drizzle of olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- squeeze of lemon
For the pasta
- 9 ounces pappardelle pasta
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4-1/2 cup reserved pasta water*
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese*
- 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- zest of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus extra for serving
For the scallops
Make sure scallops are SUPER dry. I pat mine down thoroughly with paper towels until they're dry. Season with pepper (no salt yet!) Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a small drizzle of olive oil and the butter. Once melted, wipe out the pan so that only a thin layer of oil and butter remain. Sear the scallops on one side for about 2 minutes, or until a golden brown crust forms. Flip and sear on the other side for 1 minute or until just cooked through. Season with salt and a squeeze of lemon.
For the pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water generously. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente. (Be sure to scoop out the pasta water during the last few minutes of cooking, or right before you drain it!)
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil. Once melted and hot, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds-1 minute until fragrant, stirring constantly. If it seems too hot, reduce the heat to medium (you don't want the garlic to brown). Add the reserved pasta water (start with 1/4 cup), mascarpone, ricotta, parmesan, and lemon zest, and stir until melted and creamy. Add the pasta and toss until coated. If the sauce seems too dry, add another splash of pasta water and toss until desired consistency is reached. Add the chopped basil and toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the scallops over the pasta, and garnish with extra fresh basil and parm. Enjoy!
*To reserve my pasta water, I always scoop it out with a coffee mug during the last minute or so of cooking. I've been known to forget to do this, but I leave the coffee mug right next to the pot so I don't forget!
*I recommend using whole milk ricotta, not part skim in this recipe. The whole milk ricotta is needed to make this cream-less sauce "creamy".
*If you don't like scallops, you can use shrimp or any seafood here!