Seafood/ Vegetarian

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (with Garlic and Olive Oil) and Seared Scallops

On the menu tonight – Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (with Garlic and Olive Oil) with Seared Scallops!

The first time I had Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, I couldn’t believe how simple yet delicious it was. Literally just five ingredients, spaghetti, olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Garnish with some fresh Italian Parsley. That’s it! Done right, you’ve got a super delicious and inexpensive meal. Add some seared scallops or shrimp and you’ve got something really special.

With so few ingredients there isn’t much room to hide behind a sauce or a layer of cheese. The pasta has to be cooked perfectly, the olive oil has to be good and of course fresh garlic and parsley. The trick is don’t over cook the pasta or the garlic. Over cooked garlic is going to make the dish bitter. We’re going for garlicky goodness. A lot of recipes have you slice the garlic very thinly – think Pauli in Goodfellas. If you don’t have the time to slice your garlic with a razor blade, you can smash the cloves and chop into big chunks and fish out before it gets burned and bitter.

The seared scallops also have to be done right. Over cooked scallops are rubbery and not very good. The trick to good scallops, well there are a few. Start with good fresh scallops. After pulling off that tough muscle, pat them dry and season with salt and pepper. I used a fine sea salt in this dish. The pan – I used a non-stick pan. Pre-heat the pan with a little olive oil, barely enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Once it’s hot, place the scallops in one at a time around the pan. Remember the order you put them in because that’s the order you’ll take them out. I start at the top of the pan and go clockwise. The scallops should cook for about a minute and a half to a minute and 45 seconds depending on the heat of your pan. Once finished, there should be a nice golden sear. Flip them and cook another 90 seconds. That’s it! Take them off the heat or they become rubbery.

I hope you’ll try this dish and let me know how it turns out.

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (with Garlic and Olive Oil) and Seared Scallops

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
By Patrick Dulmage Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 15 - 20 minutes Total Time: 20 - 25 minutes

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (with Garlic and Olive Oil) and Seared Scallops


  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound dried pasta (Angel Hair or Spaghetti)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed or thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 12-18 Sea Scallops



Bring pot of salted water to a boil.


Also pre-heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.


Prepare your scallops by patting them dry. Get them as dry as you can to get that beautiful sear.


Season the scallops with salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside for now.


Drizzle about a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the skillet.


Place 6 – 8 scallops in the pan one a time. Start at the 12 o’clock position and work your way around the pan. After 90 seconds, the first scallop should be ready to flip. If it doesn’t have that nice sear, let them cook another 15 seconds.


Work your way around the pan flipping the scallops in the order you put them in.


After another 90 seconds, remove the scallops to a serving dish and repeat until they are all cooked.


After the first batch of scallops is when I drop my pasta into the boiling water. Cook the pasta about ¾ of the time the package says.


Don’t forget to save some pasta water!


The Sauce – in a large saute pan, heat the ½ cup of olive oil over medium heat.


Add the crushed red pepper flakes and the garlic. If you want to get your inner Pauli going, you’ve thinly sliced your garlic. While I do that sometimes, usually I will smash the garlic cloves and drop them in the oil. Just as the garlic starts to turn brown I remove it before it gets bitter.


Take a ladle of the pasta water and add it to the olive oil.


About this time, the pasta should be ready too. Add the pasta to your olive oil sauce you just created and cook a few minutes longer.


Season with salt if needed and transfer to a serving dish along with your scallops.


Drizzle a little bit more olive oil on top and serve immediately.

Don’t Miss A Single Recipe!

Don't Miss A Recipe

You Might Also Like