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Seared Scallops with Pumpkin and Herbed Orzo


Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    Perfectly Seared Scallops
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 107

This stunning dish gets a double dose of pumpkin. Tender chunks of the sautéed flesh are stirred with orzo and the dish is finished with a sprinkling of chopped roasted pumpkin seeds.

For the Orzo
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch-diced peeled, seeded pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallot
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz. orzo
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram or thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the Scallops
  • 1 lb. large all-natural “dry” sea scallops, side muscle removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped shallot
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram or thyme
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped, salted, roasted hulled pepitas
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Make the orzo

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the pumpkin and shallot and cook, stirring, until the pumpkin is almost tender and the shallot is golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the pumpkin is completely tender, about 2 minutes more. Set aside. Cook the orzo in the boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the water and drain. Add the orzo, parsley, and marjoram to the skillet, along with 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, and stir until blended and heated through, adding more pasta water if necessary, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Cook the Scallops

Pat the scallops dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops to the skillet and cook, flipping once, until browned on both sides yet just barely cooked through, about 1½ minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Stir the shallot and garlic into the butter, add the wine, and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the cream and marjoram and boil until thickened, about 1 minute. Return the scallops and any liquid to the skillet and stir briefly over medium heat. Divide the orzo and scallops among four plates and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with the pepitas and parsley and serve.

Serving Suggestions

A simple salad or even a bean soup would be a fine start to the meal.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 570, Fat (kcal): 23, Fat Calories (g): 210, Saturated Fat (g): 13, Protein (g): 30, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6, Carbohydrates (mg): 57, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 810, Cholesterol (g): 95, Fiber (g): 4,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Love this recipe.....perfect in the fall when the sugar pumpkins are available. I do adjust the seasonings...have nevefr had any left oover. Might also be the easy access to fresh scallops!

@ Champagneyes Actually, the recipe is quite clear – peeled diced pumpkin is called for and there is no mention of steaming the pumpkin – it is sautéed in butter with the shallots.

I've made this several times and have never had leftovers. Hub is not a fan of sea scallops but he really loves this dish. I have found that the trick to maintaining the integrity of the ingredients is to peel the pumpkin raw, without steaming first, so it doesn't have a chance to break down in the sauce. I gave it 4 stars because the instructions could be a little more clear on this point.

We served this at a dinner party, and I don't know if we did something wrong, but we thought it was yucky. Just bland and boring. People were overzealous with the salt shaker trying to revive it. Wouldn't make it again.

We REALLY liked this, but it was a bit saucy and didn't come out quite like the photos! That said, we loved it and would make it again!

This was amazing. Lots of steps, each one very simple. The only white wine I had was vermouth, it was wonderful in the sauce. At the last minute, I realized I didn't have any orzo so used jasmine rice. Will make again and again and again.

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