Fresh pasta with scallops and a vodka-flavored sauce is a traditional Italian dinner.
“Each Christmas when we were small, my mother would gather all my sisters and brothers into the kitchen to help make fresh pasta for Christmas dinner,” an Italian cooking student of mine once recalled. “Shellfish and a vodka sauce were always served with our pasta.”
Lucky for us, we can enjoy this dish with fresh pasta available in our supermarkets.
Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: a creamy California chardonnay.
▪ Look for washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad with red radicchio leaves for the side dish.
Holiday linguine with vodka sauce
Recipe from Linda Gassenheimer.
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 pound baby or bay scallops
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup frozen diced/chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup vodka
1 large, ripe tomato or 3 plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup clam juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup basil leaves torn into small pieces
1/4 pound fresh linguine
Place a large saucepan filled with 4 to 5 quarts of water on to boil. Mix scallops and breadcrumbs together in a bowl. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and toss in the pan 2 minutes, making sure all sides are cooked. Remove to a plate. Add onions and sauté 1 minute. Add garlic and sauté another minute. Add vodka, raise heat and reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Add tomato and clam juice. Cover and cook gently without boiling for 1 minute.
Mix cornstarch with cream together and add to the skillet. Stir and cook 2 to 3 minutes to thicken the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce into large serving bowl and add basil. Place linguine in boiling water and boil 2 minutes. Strain and toss with sauce. Divide pasta between two dinner plates and spoon the scallops over the pasta.
Per serving: 566 calories (21 percent from fat), 13.1 g fat (4.6 g saturated, 3.9 g monounsaturated), 71 mg cholesterol, 40.5 g protein, 70.3 g carbohydrates, 5.1 g fiber, 491 mg sodium.