Spaghetti Aglio Olio is a classic Italian pasta dish and one of my favourite pastas of all time. It’s such an easy pasta dish to make and tastes absolutely fantastic. It’s so easy that you’d probably need to try very hard to go wrong. Spaghetti Aglio Olio got its name from cooking in garlic and olive oil. Sometimes, chilli flakes are added into the equation to give it a bit more “stir” in flavours, which is the way I like.
In this recipe, I wanted to treat my family to some fancy pansy ingredients – scallops and bacon, so the dish is much more flavoursome. You can replace with prawns if you like.
Scallops & Bacon Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
15 fresh scallops (see note)
4 pieces bacon strips, cut into small bite-size pieces
12 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
40g unsalted butter
4 tbsp olive oil
3 servings spaghetti (about 250g)
dried chilli flakes, to taste
3 tsp dried italian herbs (store-bought)
fresh cracked black pepper
parmesan cheese, grated
1. Bring a pot of water with 1 1/2 tbsp sea salt to boil. Add 3 servings of spaghetti into the boiled water and cook till al dente.
2. Heat up a pan with vegetable oil and sear the bacon pieces till crisp at the edges. Set aside.
3. Season scallops with sea salt and black pepper. Work this in 2 batches if you need. Heat pan with butter and spread the seasoned scallops on the pan in one layer. Leave to sear on one side till brown before turning to the other side. This should just take a few minutes. Be careful not to over-sear the scallops else, it will taste very rubbery. Set aside.
4. Add olive oil to the pan, into the remaining scallop juices and remnants. Once the oil is hot, add chopped garlic and chilli flakes. Sauté until fragrant and the garlic turned lightly brown. Add the italian herbs and mix well. Turn the heat off.
5. Add cooked pasta into the pan and stir well to combine, ensuring that the pasta is evenly coated with the garlic mixture.
6. Scoop pasta onto serving plates and top with bacon pieces and scallops. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and season with sea salt and cracked black pepper if you need.
Note: If your scallops are “wet-packed”, you’ll need to rinse out the additives and liquid used to treat the scallops so you can get nicely seared scallops. To make the brine, combine 1/4 cup of lemon juice with 2 tbsp salt and 1 cup of cold water. Stir to dissolve the salt and put in the scallops. Leave to brine for 20 minutes. Rinse with cold water and pat dry.