Minted Lemon Pappardelle with Butter-Seared Baby Scallops

To celebrate exams being finished and having the luxury of time to cook and enjoy a proper meal, I made one of my favourite pasta recipes today. The recipe is based on a re-creation of a shrimp dish I used to enjoy at a long defunct restaurant. At this point, I don’t think that my dish bears much resemblance to the inspiration dish, other than pasta, lemon and mint. As you may have ascertained looking through my blog posts, I am a huge fan of lemon anything. Adding mint to it takes it up a notch.  The freshness of this dish is the perfect compliment to the approaching warm weather and sunshine.

Minted Lemon Pappardelle with Butter-Seared Baby Scallops - A Pat & A Pinch

Minted Lemon Pappardelle with Butter-Seared Baby Scallops - A Pat & A Pinch

Minted Lemon Pappardelle with Butter-Seared Baby Scallops

Serves: 4

1 large shallot, yielding 3 tablespoons finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup white wine

4 cups chicken stock

500 grams fresh pappardelle or linguine

5 tablespoons butter, 3 of which should be kept cold.

400 grams scallops

zest and juice of 2 or 3 large lemons (2 -3 teaspoons zest, 3 tablespoons juice, to taste)

salt and pepper, to taste

generous handful of chopped fresh mint

Saute the shallots in the olive oil in a large sauté pan or frying pan until translucent. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the chicken stock and lemon zest. Simmer vigorously to reduce to 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set to the side in the sauté pan.

Drain and dry the scallops. Heat a skillet on high heat. When hot, reduce the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons of the butter allowing it to melt and coat the surface of the skillet. Brown the scallops on one side, turn to brown the other side. Do not over cook. Remove from the pan and set to the side, reserving the browned butter.

Cook the fresh pasta as directed on the package. Drain.

Re-heat the reduced liquids in the sauté pan. Add the lemon juice and reserved butter and browned bits from the scallops to the sauce, stirring to incorporate. Taste for seasoning. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the drained pasta, scallops and mint turning gently to marry them. Serve with a glass of crisp white wine.

Minted Lemon Pappardelle with Butter-Seared Baby Scallops - A Pat & A Pinch

I also make this pasta substituting cooked salmon or shrimp for the scallops. I increase the cold butter slightly depending on whether there are juices with oil or butter resulting from their preparation that I can incorporate into the sauce.

Black Pepper and Cheese Biscotti

It’s exam time which means it is snack time and I desperately needed a break from studying and a snack. Making these delicious biscotti was the perfect solution – not healthy, but very satisfying. A warning, you have to love pepper or you will find the pepper too dominant in these delights.

Black Pepper & Cheese Biscotti - A Pat & A Pinch

This recipe is adapted from the Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti recipe found on the blog Smitten Kitchen which in turn was adapted from Gourmet, December 2006. Being somewhat lactose intolerant, I prefer to make it with a Pecorino Romano which I find easier to tolerate. This time I made it with a lactose free Bella Lodi that I found at the Chop Shop at the Root Cellar here in Victoria. The recipe yields 5 to 6 dozen biscotti but I often cut the recipe in half.

Black Pepper and Cheese Biscotti

1 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

4 1/2 oz hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, finely grated (2 1/4 cups)

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 large eggs

1 cup milk

Special equipment: an electric coffee/spice grinder or a mortar and pestle

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Pulse peppercorns in grinder or grind in a mortar until coarsely ground.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups cheese, and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 3 eggs with milk and add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and quarter dough. Using well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened 12-inch-long log (about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch high). I find that this is most easily accomplished by forming the dough into a 12-inch sausage with my hands and then flattening the sausage to a rectangle on the floured counter or board. Transfer the logs to 2 parchment-lined or ungreased large baking sheets, arranging logs about 3 inches apart. Being a fan of easy cleanup I prefer to use parchment.

Whisk remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 tablespoon ground pepper. Bake, rotating sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total. Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Carefully transfer 1 warm log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange the slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs, transferring slices to sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool the biscotti on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.

Black Pepper & Cheese Biscotti - A Pat & A Pinch

These would be perfect with a glass (or two) of red wine and are a simple solution to those events where you are asked to bring an appetizer. As my son moves into grade school, I anticipate that this will be a go-to recipe for bake-sales aimed at adults. For now, they are the perfect escape from studying.