Seared Scallops with Spinach Orzo and Roasted Tomato Sauce

I have wanted to try cooking scallops for a really long time now–but they intimidate me. They’re kind of weird, so I’m never exactly sure how to cook them, or what to do with them. They’re also expensive, so I don’t want to mess them up, and yet they can be so easily-overcooked and turn rubbery. Then the other day as I was flipping through my much-raved about carrabba’s cookbook, I saw a recipe for seared scallops with orzo that looked SO divine, I decided it was worth getting out of yet another cooking comfort zone and finally attempt to cook them.

And I discovered that they were SO SIMPLE! I would even go as far to say, probably one of the fastest and easiest things I have made on this Blog so far. However, all the other components together made this dish a little more complex. Making the tomato sauce from scratch, the parmesan-orzo, garlic-spinach, and scallops simultaneously in 20 minutes was quite the juggling act–although I have two babies under 3, so i’m probably used to that a little bit! But it all came together SO amazingly well that it was worth it. Worth going out of my comfort zone for, and definitely worth the work.

So here’s the recipe. I changed it a little because I wanted to use my own orzo recipe (with chicken stock and parmesan cheese) to kick it up a notch, and I added basil to the tomato sauce (because it only seemed right!) This is one of my new fave’s! It looks so gourmet and elegant, yet it’s so simple, and SO divine! I should have discovered scallops a lot sooner.

Ingredients:

Balsamic Roasted Tomato Sauce
6 roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthways
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
6 leaves fresh basil
salt and pepper

Spinach Parmesan Orzo
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 ounces spinach leaves
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Scallops
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
16 sea scallops
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:
To make the roasted tomato sauce, preheat the oven to 400degF. Drizzle the tomatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking tray and roast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the pan juices look caramelized.

When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and transfer to a blender. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil, balsamic and basil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Keep at room temperature.

To make the orzo, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Stir in orzo and saute until lightly browned. Stir in chicken stock and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 – 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp butter in a large saucepan, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the spinach and stir gently until it wilts. Stir the spinach into the cooked orzo, along with the parmesan cheese, and keep covered to stay warm.

To make the scallops, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops, flat side down, and cook until the underside is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the scallops and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook until the other sides are golden brown and the scallops are barely opaque throughout, about 3 minutes more.

To serve, divide the orzo among 4 serving bowls. Add scallops to each. Top with the tomato sauce and extra parmesan cheese Or garnish with fresh basil
So yummy!

Enjoy this one guys, and your memorial day weekend too!
<3 Sarah