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Linguine with Pesto and Seared Scallops

Just looking at this I can smell fragrant basil. Vibrant, earthy pesto, hardy pasta, and rich and meaty scallops come together for this perfect Sunday recipe.

Growing up, my husband John and I both had Sunday dinner with our families each week. It’s a tradition that we both love very much, and we agreed early on that we would carry it on with our own family.

I could talk all day about how much I love this tradition. It’s not only about the delicious food on the table. It’s really about the experience of togetherness, love, endless laughter, delicious food, lots of wine, and being at home together to relax, recharge, and reconnect through cooking.

Depending upon the time of year, different elements and memories come to mind around Sunday dinner as well, like the sounds of my dad and brother screaming at the football games on television in the fall, the day-long crackling of the fireplace in the winter, the clacking of baseball bats during the Yankee game on television and the early chirping of birds signifying spring, and in the summer, I think of eating fresh pesto with linguine and a big loaf of bread al fresco beside our herb garden with the fam.

Beginning in spring, my mom’s herb garden is just thriving with every herb you can imagine. It’s always been SO much fun to get creative! Every year, we pick basil for all different kinds of creations. One key activity is making tons of fresh pesto. We eat it fresh and also stock up in the freezer for the months to come, all the way through the holiday season. In the warmer months, we’d often deviate from our usual Sunday red sauce and enjoy linguine with pesto instead.

This recipe combines beautiful Sunday dinner memories with my deep love for seared scallops. More than anything, it’s a big THANK YOU to my momma for sharing her bountiful herb garden, teaching me how to respect herbs and make fresh pesto, and for introducing Cecily now, as well, to the beauty of gardening and having fun incorporating fresh herbs into cooking. Watch how this recipe is made HERE.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 30 Minutes

Yield: 4-6 Servings


For the Scallops

10 sea scallops, about 1 pound, adductor muscles removed, and scallops rinsed with cold water then patted dry with a paper towel

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Reduction:

Fresh parsley for garnishing

⅓ cup sherry wine

⅓ cup water

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon butter

For the Linguine with Pesto

1 pound linguine

2 cups fresh basil

2 tablespoons pine nuts

2 garlic cloves

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping


For the Scallops and Reduction:

  1. Lightly season scallops with salt and pepper.

  2. Add butter and olive oil to a large non-stick saute pan over high heat. Once smoking, add the scallops. Don’t crowd the pan and work in two batches if necessary.

  3. Sear for 2 minutes on each side, until golden and centers are translucent. Remove from pan and place aside.

  4. Add sherry, water, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pan.

  5. Bring sauce to a rapid boil and reduce for 10-12 minutes, until thick enough to coat a spoon. Add butter and stir until melted.

For the Linguine with Pesto

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add linguine. Boil until desired texture is reached.

  2. Add basil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, and olive oil to a food processor. Pulse a few times and then add cheese. Pulse until pesto forms. Transfer to a jar or bowl and place aside.


  1. In a large bowl, toss linguine with pesto to coat. Distribute evenly among serving bowls.

  2. Top each serving with scallops and a drizzle of the reduction.

  3. Sprinkle with desired amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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