Fresh pasta with scallops and a vodka-flavored sauce is a traditional Italian Christmas 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: The rich, creamy sauce in this dish would be nicely matched by a creamy California chardonnay.
▪ Fat-free chicken broth can be substituted for fish broth.
▪ Fresh diced or chopped onion found in the produce department can be used instead of frozen onion.
▪ Look for washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad with red radicchio leaves for the side dish.
▪ Place water for pasta on to boil.
▪ Prepare scallops.
▪ Remove scallops and use same skillet for sauce.
▪ Boil pasta.
▪ Prepare salad.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes.
1 package frozen diced/chopped onion, 1 small bottle vodka, 1 large, ripe tomato or 3 plum tomatoes, 3/4-pound baby or bay scallops, 1 small carton heavy cream, 1 bunch basil, 1 package fresh linguine, 1 container plain breadcrumbs, 1 bottle clam juice and 1 bag washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad.
Staples: Olive oil, minced garlic, cornstarch, reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing, salt and black peppercorns.
(Linda Gassenheimer is the author, most recently, of “Delicious One-Pot Dishes,” featuring 60 recipes designed to be stewed, braised, slow-cooked or steamed, each in a single pot. Her website is dinnerinminutes.com. Follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer. Email: email@example.com)
Holiday Linguine With Vodka Sauce
By 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 saute 1 minute. Add garlic and saute 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.
Yield: 2 servings.
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.
4 cups washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad
2 tablespoons reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing.
Place salad in a bowl and toss with dressing.
Yield: 2 servings.
Per serving: 27 calories (13 percent from fat), 0.4 g fat (0.1 g saturated, 0.3g monounsaturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 1.2 g protein, 3.8 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 12 mg sodium.