Vernal Greens Pasta with Seared Scallops
From The Chef
This dish works really well with Uproot's Sauvignon Blanc: the lime, fava shoots, and fennel in the pasta echo the citrus and grassy notes in the wine. The wine is also a great foil for the scallops -- its bright flavors balance their sweetness.
- 12 to 16 scallops (about 1 pound), muscles removed if present
- 1 large fennel bulb, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 2 ½ tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
- Stems from one fennel bulb, set aside
- 1 large yellow onion, halved and divided
- 6 cups bunch fava greens or spinach, washed
- 5 cups water
- Kosher salt
- 3 to 4 anchovy fillets
- 2 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced and divided
- Zest of 1 large lime
- 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for serving
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 pound casarecce pasta (or substitute campanelle, gemelli, or penne)
- ¾ cup Sauvignon Blanc (or other dry white wine)
- 1 teaspoon aleppo pepper (or ½ teaspoon California crushed red pepper) lime wedges (optional)
- Pat the scallops dry with paper towels, then transfer to a plate and set uncovered in the fridge until ready to season and cook.
- Chop fennel stems and transfer them into a medium saucepan. Slice one half of the onion in thinly, lengthwise, and set aside. Cut the other half into large chunks and add to the saucepan.
- Add 5 cups of water and ½ tablespoon kosher salt to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
- While water is coming to a boil, mash and scrape the anchovy filets into a paste on a cutting board, using a fork. Transfer to a small bowl, and stir in ½ tablespoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon garlic. Add the lime zest, juice, black pepper, and 2 tablespoons chopped fennel frond to the anchovy mixture. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and sliced onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally.
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 5 to 6-quart stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Warm, then add the pasta. Cook stirring frequently until about a third of the pasta is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, and cook, stirring, until the wine has absorbed, about 2 minutes. Strain the veggie infused water into the pasta. Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has absorbed and the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. If most of the liquid has absorbed, but the pasta has not softened enough, add an additional ¼ to ½ cup water. Remove from heat and cover when done, if it finishes early.
- Once the fennel and onion have lightly caramelized, increase the heat to medium. Add the aleppo pepper and remaining minced garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add about ½ of the fava leaves or spinach, and stir until starting to wilt. Add the remaining fava, and stir until mostly wilted. Keep covered. Wipe the sauté pan out with paper towels.
- Once the pasta is done, heat 2 tablespoons butter in the sauté pan over medium-high heat until the butter is starting to brown. Season the scallops with salt, and add in a single layer to the pan. Cook about 2 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom side, then flip with tongs and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. (You may need to cook the scallops in 2 batches.) Remove from heat then spritz with lime juice from the remaining half of lime.
- Stir vegetable mixture into the cooked pasta, then add the anchovy mixture and combine thoroughly. Taste and season as needed.
- Plate, and top with the cooked scallops. Sprinkle with remaining chopped fennel frond and some freshly cracked black pepper.
- Pour yourself a glass of Uproot and Enjoy!