Chef Felix Sturmer, who I’ve lost track of, did this dish for an Eat Club dinner when he was at the former Westin Canal Place. Its the best dish I ever made with those little bay scallops that sometimes come our way in the supermarket. But the bigger sea scallops are usually of much higher quality, so this recipe calls for those. It’s also good with crawfish tails. I wouldn’t use it with anything subtle (crabmeat, for instance), because the cheese in the tortellini competes hard.
- 1 lb. (dry) cheese tortellini
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1/2 cup French shallots, chopped
- 1 Tbs. garlic, chopped
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 lb. sea scallops, cut crosswise into three thin slices each, or 1 lb. crawfish tails, cooked (if you can’t get scallops)
- 1 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped
- 1 Tbs. chopped parsley
- 1 Tbs. chopped red pepper
- 5 pitted black olives, washed and chopped
- 1 pint whipping cream
- 3 oz. pine nuts, toasted
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a tablespoon of salt. Add the tortellini and boil until cooked, about six to eight minutes. Drain and keep warm. Reserve 1/2 cup of the water the pasta boiled in.
2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it bubbles. Add the shallots, garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook until fragrant, then add the wine. Bring the wine to a boil and hold it there for a minute.
3. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the sliced scallops and cook for about two minutes.
4. Add all the other ingredients except the pine nuts. Return a a light simmer. Check the seasonings and adjust with salt and pepper. Add a little of the pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
5. Add the pasta to the pan and, with two large spoons, toss until the pasta is well blended with the sauce ingredients.
6. Garnish with toasted pine nuts. (You toast pine nuts by putting them into a metal pan under a broiler, and watching them closely. The second you see them begin to brown, take them out.)