scallop puttanesca

Scallop Pasta Puttanesca

Last Updated on May 17, 2022

Known for its briny, compulsively edible flavor, caper and olive spiked puttanesca calls out for a seafood topper. And seared scallops are it! Cut into bite-sized pieces, these crisp yet smooth pieces of seafood cut some of the spice in this chili-laced sauce, and they’re just right as a complement to the silky, saucy spaghetti.  

If preparing for a dinner party, make the sauce up to one day in advance, and cook the scallops and pasta to order. Serve with the same white wine used in the recipe for a not too difficult but elegant meal. 

scallops and pasta

Scallop Pasta Puttanesca

4 from 13 votes
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Protein: Fish / Seafood
Cut: Scallops
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 12 ButcherBox wild caught sea scallops defrosted
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon Caabrian chili paste
  • ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives sliced
  • ¼ cup pitted green olives sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 32-ounce package diced or crushed tomatoes
  • kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces spaghetti


  • Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • In a medium saute pan or Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, anchovy paste, and chili paste, and stir to combine. Once fragrant, add olives and capers and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until they start to crinkle. Deglaze the pan with wine, lower heat, and stir in tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, cover the pan, and simmer on low.
  • Meanwhile, bring salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, adding remaining olive oil. Add scallops to pan, not touching, and allow to sear for 2-3 minutes, until they no longer stick to the pan. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes, undisturbed. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add spaghetti to pasta sauce, stirring in a small amount of pasta water to help sauce stick.
  • Cut scallops in halves or quarters, depending on preference. Top pasta with scallops pieces and serve.
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Melissa is a writer and recipe developer living in Brooklyn.  She contributes to several national publications including the New York Times, New York Magazine, Marie Claire, Conde Nast Traveler, WSJ Magazine, Real Simple, Time Out, Thrillist, Eater, Glamour and many more.