This Shrimp and Scallop Pasta is a quick, elegant, and flavorful dinner perfect for date night or an easy midweek meal.
The sweetness of the shellfish works wonderfully with the sauce, which is made simply with a splash of wine, plenty of garlic, butter, parsley, and lemon. Think of this as a Shrimp and Scallop Scampi. Seafood pasta with plenty of garlic! What is not to love?
You can use large scallops or the smaller bay scallops in this recipe and pick a long pasta noodle to work well with the light coating of sauce. On the table in less than 30 minutes, this is a dinner to impress!
About Shrimp and Scallop Pasta
Everyone loves shrimp scampi .... because it's delicious! But when you add tender, juicy scallops into the dish, you elevate it to outstanding!
In this recipe, the scallops and shrimp are seared in a hot frying pan until just cooked; then, an effortless sauce is made in the same pan. Garlic, butter, parsley, lemon, and a hint of heat from red pepper flakes are mixed with a bit of pasta cooking water. This creates a beautiful emulsion full of flavor! Add the pasta back in and once everything is coated, serve with the seared seafood for a dinner that is sure to impress.
The perfect seared scallop should have a crisp golden crust and soft and tender in the center. Overcooked scallops will be tough or rubbery!
Below you will find my tips for perfectly seared scallops. You can read more about that in this post, "How to Perfectly Pan Sear Scallops."
When cooking scallops, I always do it the same way; it is a method I learned from Gorden Ramsey. He is a fantastic chef, and I would never dare argue with him! (I mean, would you??) But more than that, this method is my go-to because it works and gives perfectly cooked scallops every time.
So my top tips:
- Always start with very dry scallops - pat them dry with kitchen paper before you try to cook them.
- Use a heavy-based frying pan and make sure it is hot before adding the oil or the seafood.
- Only add salt to the scallops just before you add them to the frying pan.
- Add the scallops to the pan in an ordered pattern. I use an imaginary clockface and work clockwise. This reduces the risk of overcooking your scallops as you can turn them in the order you added them.
- When you first add the scallops to the pan, don't touch them; allow them to cook for 90 seconds to form a golden crust.
- Use peeled and deveined shrimp to make it a more appealing dish to eat.
- The recipe is written for four people, and each serving contains four shrimp and three scallops. Feel free to reduce or increase the number of scallops and or shrimp according to budget or availability.
- If you have frozen seafood, ensure it is fully defrosted and dry before you start to cook it. (see above for more tips with the scallops)
- With fresh seafood, make sure it is dry before you start cooking.
- Put the water for the pasta on to boil first. This is a quick dish and getting the pasta water to boiling is the longest stage. (to speed up this step, use an electric kettle if you have one)
- Salt the pasta cooking water generously. You need 1 tablespoon of salt for a quart of water, which is enough for a pound of pasta!
- Before you drain your pasta, use a large measuring cup to take out at least 1 ½ cups of the cooking water. It will help you to get the perfect sauce.
- Have your garlic minced, parsley chopped, and lemon zest grated before you start cooking the seafood. The sauce comes together quickly, so you want to be prepared. I do this while the water is coming to a boil.
Why You'll Love this Shrimp and Scallop Pasta
- It's an elegant restaurant-style dish that you can make at home.
- It is easy to make.
- You can learn how to cook scallops perfectly.
- It is ready in under 30 minutes.
- It makes a great date night dinner or dinner party main course.
- It tastes AMAZING!
- As mentioned above, each serving of this shrimp scallop scampi contains four shrimp and three scallops. But you can swap this about as needed. I have made it with just scallops and also with extra prawns and smaller bay scallops.
- You could add extra seafood to this pasta. Squid rings would be delicious, as would some clams or mussels.
- Try adding some veg into the pasta. Fresh spinach, asparagus, or some roasted cherry tomatoes, would all be delicious.
- Long pasta works best with the garlic butter sauce, but this would also work with a farfalle (butterfly/bowtie pasta) or rotini. Avoid pasta shapes with holes in them, like penne and or rigatoni.
Wine pairing with Shrimp and Scallop Pasta
Garlic pasta loves crisp citrussy whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Fiano, Verdejo, or a Vermentino. These will also pair well with the sweetness of the seafood. A dry bottle of bubbles like a prosecco or dry cava would be great too. You want the freshness, so don't go for anything too aged or woody. Oh, and avoid anything oaked. It makes the garlic taste metallic and dulls the sweetness of the seafood.
We would probably suggest picking a white wine here, especially as you need a little for the sauce. But if you are a die-hard red lover, then a very light red could work. Think a red Sancerre, a Beaujolais or a Grenache.
Sides for Shrimp and Scallop Pasta
This Shrimp Scallop Scampi would be perfect served with a simple green salad with a simple dressing or add some veg with some garlic green beans or some roasted broccoli. A simple tomato salad would also be delicious!
For more delicious seafood pasta dishes why not try:
- Bacon Shrimp Pasta
- Pan Seared Scallop Pasta with Creamy Bacon Sauce
- Pan Seared Salmon with Creamy Lemon Pasta
- Lobster Pasta with Chili and Garlic
- Creamy Lemon Shrimp Gnocchi
- Seared Scallop Chorizo Pasta
- Spicy Shrimp Pasta
- Creamy Lemon Salmon Pasta
- See all 80+ Pasta Recipes
Shrimp and Scallop Pasta
- 1 lb long pasta - see note 1
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil - divided
- 12 raw sea scallops - see note 2
- 16 jumbo shrimp (raw, peeled, and deveined) - see note 2
- ¼ cup white wine - see note 3
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (~6 cloves)
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Grated zest of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch red pepper flakes - optional
- salt to taste
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Add the salt and cook the pasta for 1 minute less than the packet instructions.
1lb/450g dried pasta
1 tablespoon salt
- Once cooked, reserve 1 ½ cups of the pasta cooking liquid and drain the pasta.
- Once the pasta is in the water, start the seafood.
- Ensure the scallops and shrimp are dry by patting them with a paper towel to remove any moisture. Then leave them to sit on a sheet of paper towel.
12 raw sea scallops
16 jumbo shrimp
- Heat half of the oil in a large skillet/frying pan over medium-high heat.
2 tablespoon olive oil
- Season the scallops with salt. Then carefully and quickly add the scallops to the frying pan. Do them individually, starting at 12 o'clock and working around the outside of the pan.
- Cook the scallops for 90 seconds on one side, then flip the scallops and cook for a further 60 seconds. Remove from the pan.
- Add the remaining oil to the frying pan/skillet.
2 tablespoon olive oil
- Season the shrimp with salt, then add to the frying pan and cook for 2 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set them aside.
- Pour the wine into the pan and allow to bubble for 30 seconds, scraping the bottom of the frying pan.
¼ cup white wine
- Reduce the heat to low and melt the butter. Add in the minced garlic, cooking for 3 minutes, until fragrant but not colored.
4 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon minced garlic
- Add the chopped parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir well.
½ cup chopped parsley
Grated zest of ½ lemon
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
- Add the drained pasta, add ½ cup/125ml of the reserved pasta water and keep stirring until the pasta has absorbed the sauce. (about 1-2 minutes) I find tongs work well for this as they can lift and turn the pasta quickly.
- Add more pasta water if needed, until the pasta is cooked perfectly and coated in the butter sauce.
- Add the cooked seafood, toss gently over medium heat for 30 seconds, and serve immediately.
- Long pasta works best with the garlic butter sauce, so I would suggest using linguine, spaghetti, or tagliatelle. But this would also work with a farfalle (butterfly/bowtie pasta) or rotini. Avoid pasta shapes with holes in them, like penne and or rigatoni.
- The recipe is written for four people, and each serving contains four shrimp and three scallops. Feel free to reduce or increase the number of scallops and or shrimp according to budget or availability. If you have frozen seafood, ensure it is fully defrosted and dry before you start to cook it. (see above for more tips with the scallops) With fresh seafood, make sure it is dry before you start cooking.
- If you don't consume alcohol, you can switch the wine out for broth/stock.