Shrimp and Scallops in Saffron Cream with Black Pasta

By JoanG
January 24, 2011
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Author Notes: This recipe was told to me many years ago by my cooking mentor Lena, an amazing cook who grew up in Russia and picked up cooking ideas from her stays in Eastern and Western Europe. I have adapted and served this recipe as the showpiece of several dinner parties. It is amazingly easy to fix and has a depth of flavor from the mix of shrimp, scallops, cream and saffron. The final presentation is stunning with the mixture poured over a nest of black, squid-ink pasta and decorated by a colorful array of thin crispy slices of sautéed peppers. - JoanGJoanG

Food52 Review: This is a very lovely dish and quite possibly the fastest 'fancy' looking dinner you could put on the table if company is coming. Once the pasta water was boiling, I was plating about 15 minutes later. I did make one major change; I first sauteed the bell pepper and removed it from the pan, then sauteed the shellfish, and removed from pan, as I think scallops are much better with a crust. Then I proceeded with the sauce and added the shellfish back to the sauce right before plating. The sauce is very thick and luxurious with some sweetness from the shellfish, a nice tang from the saffron and a bit of heat from the cayenne. In the future I would add some sort of greens like lightly steamed spinach and make the sauce a little thinner with half milk, half cream. Black pasta is readily available online and worth finding in your area if only for the visual. MGrace

Serves: 4-6

  • 1 pound dried black (squid ink) pasta
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 pound large or jumbo shrimp, raw, cleaned and de-veined
  • 1 pound fresh bay scallops, rinsed and patted dry
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
  • A few pinches of saffron threads, crumbled
  • 3 good sized bell peppers (I green, 1 red, and 1 yellow or orange, cored and seeded and sliced into very thin rings
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  1. Cook pasta in boiling water with 1 Tbsp butter unit al dente.
  2. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. Cook and stir 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp flour until brown. Gradually pour in the cream. Blend and simmer until the sauce thickens. Add the shrimp Cook and stir 1 minute.
  3. Add the scallops. Cook a few more minutes. Season with a little cayenne pepper, salt, and a few pinches of saffron.
  4. Turn off heat and let stand. Meanwhile melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sautee peppers a few minutes until tender but not soft.
  5. Drain pasta and arrange on a platter. Mound the seafood/sauce mixture in the middle and surround with alternating layers of the colored pepper rings.
  6. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.

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