Seared Scallop Carbonara

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Seared Scallop Carbonara

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings


  • 6 x U10 sized sea scallops at room temperature OR 14 shrimp (21/25 sizing), peeled and deveined 2 x 6 ounce chicken breasts, sliced in to 1 inch thick slices
  • 1 cup pancetta cut into ½” lardons
  • 2 cups enoki mushrooms stem removed and flaked apart
  • ½ cup Spanish onion thinly sliced
  • 250 grams dried tagliatelle pasta
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach washed
  • 3 whole large sized eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 stems fresh thyme leaves removed but not chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt


  • Put a large 8-quart pot of salted water on high heat. Bring scallops to room temperature on a cutting board for 10 minutes.
  • Heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the pancetta, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until it begins turning golden brown. IF you are using chicken then you must add it at this point and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. After the pancetta has been rendered and the chicken has been browned (if you’re using chicken) the add the onion and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes until softened.
  • Add pasta to the pot once it has come to a boil give it a good stir. Cook pasta for 7-9 minutes or until al dente. 2 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add your peas.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add the thyme leaves, spinach and mushrooms to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pan to cool slightly. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the parmesan cheese, and black pepper, whisking together to incorporate.
  • Place the other nonstick pan on medium heat and add a teaspoon of butter and a tablespoon of canola oil. Score both sides of the scallops lightly with a knife and season with salt and pepper. Once the butter has melted, and bubbly, add the scallops or the shrimps to the pan.
  • Cook the scallops or shrimp on one side for a minute and a half. Try not to touch the scallops or shirmps as they sear so they can develop a crust. Once a deep brown color has formed, turn, and cook for an additional minute. Transfer the scallops or shrimps out of the pan onto a tray to allow any additional fat to drain off. Immediately squeeze fresh lemon juice over the scallops or shrimp.
  • Drain cooked pasta. Keep half a cup of starchy pasta water. Add a tablespoon of the water to the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Add pasta to the pancetta and mushrooms and toss to mix. Add the egg mixture to the pan and continue to toss. Slowly add more starchy water to create the sauce. The sauce should coat the noodles and should not be runny.
  • Spin pasta with tongs tightly in the large spoon or over a fork and plate in a bowl. Spoon any remaining pancetta and mushrooms over the pasta and top with scallops or shrimp.

Chef's Tips

Don’t add the egg mixture directly to a hot pan without tempering as it will scramble the eggs.
Don’t add too much water. Unlike many pasta dishes, carbonara is not meant to have an abundance of sauce. The sauce should coat the noodles, but never pool on your plate.
Carbonara is a versatile dish. Try substituting different vegetables and proteins such as shrimp instead of scallops, asparagus, or zucchini instead of peas, or chorizo instead of pancetta.
Leftover pasta? Try gently heating in a pan gradually adding water to create your sauce. Never put it in the microwave as it will cook you eggs and dry out your pasta!
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