Improv Challenge: Summer Corn, Tomato and Scallop Pasta


Every time one of my cooking magazines arrives, right away I flip through it looking for recipes that catch my eye. It wasn't this recipe that stopped me though, it was the recipe that was listed on the same page.

Maryland Corn & Crab Cakes 

I immediately made a disgruntled face and skimmed over the crab cake ingredients.

See, I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to Maryland crab cakes and recipes that claim they are as such. A REAL Maryland crab cake has very few ingredients other than crab meat. This one involved corn kernels, bell pepper and ::gasp:: pasteurized crab meat. I rolled my eyes and then decided to check out the scallop recipe.

I read over the ingredients and immediately thought "all this needs is some tomatoes and it will be a true summer recipe" which then lead me to realize that by adding tomatoes I could also use it for my Improv Challenge recipe.

The Improv Challenge was created by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. Each month there are two "assigned" ingredients and the participants can make absolutely anything they want including those ingredients as long as the recipe is new to their blog. Then, the third Thursday of every month, we all post our recipes. For August, our two ingredients were tomatoes and peppers.

Summer Corn, Tomato and Scallop Pasta
Barely Adapted From: Eating Well
Servings: 4-6
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    • 1 lb. sea scallops, patted dry
    • 8 oz. whole-wheat fettuccine
    • 3 slices bacon, chopped
    • 2 cups fresh corn kernels
    • 1 red pepper, diced
    • 1 cup heirloom tomatoes, halved
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 cup white wine
    • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
    • 1 tbsp. flour
    • 3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
    • salt and pepper

    1. Place the sea scallops on a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
    3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, reserving the fat in the skillet, and place on a paper towel.
    4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the scallops. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. Transfer the scallops to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
    5. Add the corn, bell pepper, tomatoes and garlic to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the reserved pasta water and the white wine. Deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen up all of the browned bits from the scallops. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until corn and peppers are soft.
    6. Stir in the sour cream and then the flour until the mixture has thickened, about 1 minute more.
    7. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the pasta and bacon pieces. Cook for 1 minute or until warmed through.
    8. Spoon the pasta and vegetables into bowls, top with scallops and a sprinkling of the fresh parsley and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    This should really be renamed 'love in a bowl'. It is absolutely incredible. It screams "summer!" The only thing that could have made this better is if I would have seared the tomatoes along with the scallops, but honestly, I didn't even need the scallops. I'm thrilled that there is a huge bowl of leftovers for my lunch tomorrow.


  1. What a great-looking dish, Nichole! Great choice for the improv challenge.

  2. Oh my goodness! This sounds like the perfect summer pasta dish. Love it! It sounds so refreshing. Yum!

  3. Mmmm... I love pasta! This one looks amazing! What a great choice.

  4. We love scallops...and bacon...and corn...and everything about this recipe! Gotta try this! Pinning.

  5. What an amazing pasta! Such a great way to combine tomatoes and peppers! (Love the scallops too!)

    Visiting from the Improv Cooking Challenge (#21 - Green Chile Pepper and Tomato Soup)


    Amber @ The Cook's Sister

  6. Yum yum yum! This looks so incredible!

  7. What a delicious way to use the required ingredients, your pasta sounds amazing.

    Thank you for visiting my entry: French Fries Hash Browns.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  8. This looks amazing! Love the summer ingredients :)

  9. Sounds like a great flavor combination you have going on. We don't eat many scallops in the midwest, but it would be fun to try some.

  10. Scallops are my new favorite things since a friend invited me over last week and put some on the barbecue! What succulent morsels they are! Your pasta looks delicious and perfect for summer. Now I just need to ask my friend where he bought the scallops so I can give it a try!

  11. This is one good looking dish! I adore scallops in almost any form.

  12. Oh, this would disappear in a flash if I had a plate in front of me! I love absolutely everything about this dish :) dear friend and neighbor grew up in Virginia...and she won't eat any crab that you can buy around here. She was spoiled with the good stuff growing up~


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