a shallow grey bowl of spaghetti with seared scallops on top
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4.59 from 17 votes

Pan Seared Scallop Pasta with Creamy Bacon Sauce

This Seared Scallop Pasta with Creamy Bacon Sauce is such an easy elegant seafood recipe. We all know that pasta carbonara is pure comfort food, but when you add shellfish to your creamy pasta noodles you turn up the notch on dinner! The sauce is a wonderful mixture of white wine, cream, onions and bacon. All mixed through spaghetti noodles and then topped with perfectly seared scallops. You can use large scallops or the smaller bay scallops here, both work and both will be delicious.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 761kcal
Author: Claire | Sprinkles and Sprouts
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  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion - see note 1
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup white wine - see note 2
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • fresh parsley - for garnish
  • 12 oz spaghetti
  • 12 scallops
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • Chop the bacon into small pieces.
  • Peel and chop the onion and garlic and set to one side for later.
  • Place a skillet over a medium flame, add the oil and cook the chopped bacon until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the bacon grease behind.
  • Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook over a medium heat until softened. Add in the garlic and fry gently for 30 seconds before pouring in the white wine (or stock). Cook until the liquid has reduced by half.
  • Reduce the heat and add in the heavy cream and half of the cooked bacon. Bring to a low simmer and cook gently for 5 minutes to thicken, then keep warm over a very low heat.
  • Whilst the sauce is simmering cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for 1 minute less than the packet suggests.
  • Before draining the pasta reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water then drain the pasta and add it to the cream sauce along with 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Stir well to coat the pasta, adding more cooking water as required. Then set to one side until the scallops are cooked. (You may need extra cooking water before you serve)
  • Ensure the scallops are dry by patting them with paper towel to remove any moisture. Then leave them to sit on a sheet of paper towel.
  • Place a heavy non-stick fry pan over a medium high heat and add the oil. Let the oil get smoking hot.
  • Season the scallops lightly with salt. Then carefully and quickly add the scallops to the fry 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.
  • Turn the heat off under the pan and add the butter.
  • Use tongs to gently turn each scallop over into the sizzling butter, again starting at 12 o’clock and working around in the same order you added the scallops. (see note 3)
  • Once the butter has stopped sizzling, give the pasta a stir, add in the remaining bacon, adding more cooking water if needed, then serve the pasta with 3 scallops on top.
  • Add lemon zest to the top and a small spritz of lemon juice.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs and black pepper then serve immediately.


  1. You can use a brown onion, red onion or white onion here.
  2. If you don't drink wine or use it in your cooking then replace this with broth/stock - vegetable, chicken or seafood broth/stock is fine.
  3. Adding the scallops to the pan in order means you can turn them in order and don't end up with an overcooked scallop or an undercooked scallop.


Calories: 761kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 445mg | Potassium: 472mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 745IU | Vitamin C: 16.8mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1.7mg
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