Creamy Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops
Creamy Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops

Scallops are one of our favorite foods and we look for ways to use them all the time. However, a perfectly seared scallop with just a bit of salt and pepper remains our favorite. And when flavored with this creamy pesto and served over pasta, they really shine! We know you will love this Creamy Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops recipe!

Homemade Creamy Pesto Pasta Sauce

This creamy pesto is nothing more than its name implies. We use a homemade classic basil pesto (which you can customize to your liking) and add it to some reduced cream and BOOM, you have a creamy pesto sauce!

This is so simple but really tastes amazing over your favorite pasta shape! We love it with casarecce pasta (pictured), but we have enjoyed it with a variety of pasta shapes. Learn more about out homemade pasta recipe here and find your favorite shape.  

Perfectly Seared Scallops

We are very particular when it comes to scallops. We often see people overcook scallops which will completely ruin this delicious treat from the sea. The natural flavor of scallops is slightly sweet with a hint of the sea and the texture should be soft and delicate, never chewy and dense.

If you want to read more on how to buy fresh scallops, what to look for, and tips for cooking, check out our post on Perfectly Seared Scallops.


We hope that you enjoy this recipe for Creamy Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops. If you give it a try, leave us a comment below or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops
Creamy Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops

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Creamy Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops

Course: DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



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  • For the Creamy Pesto Sauce
  • ¼ cup pine nuts

  • 1 large 1 garlic clove

  • 2 2 ½ cups fresh basil leaves

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 extra virgin olive oil

  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • 1 tsp 1 kosher salt

  • 1 tsp 1 lemon juice

  • 2 cups 2 heavy cream

  • For the Scallops and Pasta
  • 12 large 12 sea scallops

  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

  • 1 Tbsp 1 olive oil

  • 1 pound 1 pasta of your choice (we recommend casarecce, linguine or fettuccine)

  • basil leaves for garnish


  • Prepare the Creamy Pesto Sauce
  • Bring the cream to a simmer in a large pot. Cook gently on low to medium-low heat until the cream has thickened and reduced by almost half (approximately 20 minutes). Set aside and keep warm (not hot).
  • While the cream is reducing, toast the pine nuts in the oven for 5-8 minutes at 350°F on a sheet pan or until they just start to turn brown. Alternatively, you can do it in a pan on the stove for a few minutes until the pine nuts start to turn brown and become fragrant. Put the pine nuts into the blender or food processor.
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil and put your halved garlic cloves in for 2 minutes. Remove the garlic and add to the blender with the pine nuts. Add the basil leaves and olive oil and blend until smooth. Add the cheese, salt, and lemon juice and continue to blend. You should have a thick, smooth pesto at this point.
  • Add the pesto to the reduced cream and stir to thoroughly combine. The mixture should be warm, but not extremely hot.
  • Make the Pasta and Scallops
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a small handful of kosher salt. Add the pasta following the package cooking directions to al dente. While it cooks, prepare your scallops.
  • Heat a nonstick pan or cast-iron skillet on high or medium high until the pan very hot. Dust the scallops with a little salt and pepper on both sides. Add the olive oil to the pan to coat the bottom. Add the scallops for about 60-90 seconds per side, depending on their thickness. You should have caramelization when finished on each side.
  • Drain the pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl with the creamy pesto mixture. Combine and plate, adding scallops to each plate. You can reserve some of the creamy pesto and drizzle on top of the scallops if desired. Garnish with additional Parmigiano Reggiano and a basil leaf.

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