Sometimes a comforting bowl of pasta is all you need to make you smile. While I don’t eat a lot of pasta myself, there are times when I enjoy using pasta as a sort of blank canvas that allows me to get creative with new flavours and textures. That’s what I did today and it I ended up with a beautiful, flavour-packed pasta dish.
Seared scallops sit on top of a twirled mound of fresh egg fettuccine that has been tossed in a pan with chopped kale, garlic, fennel, toasted macadamia nuts, and roasted red grapes. Finished off with an all-important squeeze of lemon juice and a grating of Parmesan cheese.
400g fresh egg fettuccine
20 scallops, roe removed
2 cups red grapes, preferably a seedless variety
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 fennel, thinly sliced – reserve some fennel fronds for garnish
3 cups kale, roughly chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup macadamia nuts, lightly toasted
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan, for serving
Preheat the oven to 180C
Pop the grapes on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place into the oven and roast for 20 or so minutes until nicely plump and juicy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking and the grapes are roasting prepare the scallops. Season the scallops with some salt and pepper.
Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a pan over high heat. Add the scallops and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until browned on one side. Flip the scallops and cook on the underside for another 1-2 minutes (depending on the size of the scallops). Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
Using the same pan, cook the kale and garlic – adding a dash of water if needed – for approx. 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the pasta to the kale and fennel mixture and toss through. Squeeze in the lemon juice and grated zest. Add the macadamia nuts, and grapes. Toss gently to combine.
When ready to serve, divide the pasta between four plates and top with 5 scallops. Garnish with some of the reserved fennel fronds and a grating of Parmesan if you like.