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Overhead shot of a bowl of pappardelle pasta topped with seared scallops, basil, and grated parmesan, with a gold fork sticking out and another bowl of pasta peeking out in the top right of the frame

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!

Course Main Course, Pasta, Seafood
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Author Molly | Spices in My DNA


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

  1. 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

  1. 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!)

  2. 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!

Recipe Notes

*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!