Shrimp and Scallops in Saffron Cream with Black Pasta

January 24, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
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. - JoanG —JoanG

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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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  • Hana
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  • lux113082
I love food! I love to cook, eat, read about food, write about food, and enjoy meals with friends and family. I have been writing a food memoir for the past decade and am just about done! I epsecially love to create recipes using seasonal and local produce. I love to travel and wherever I go I shop at markets, cook, and try to take a cooking class.

11 Reviews

Lovisa W. May 10, 2021
This was excellent! I made some modifications based on what I had on hand. I used fettuccine instead of the black ink pasta. I really want to that! I’m sure it elevates this dish. I read too fast and made a fine dice of red bell pepper. I sautéed the red pepper with butter and shallots. Once soft I deglazed with white wine and some of my pasta water. I added the cayenne and saffron here. I cooked off the wine and reduced the sauce. I added about 1/4 cup half and half and added the sautéed scallops I had cooked previously in butter. The sauce was excellent. I loved the fish and think it would be even better with the ink pasta. I also wonder if using roasted red peppers could lend an interesting dimension to this dish. I may need to try that in the future. This is definitely a keeper of a recipe.
lux113082 May 11, 2021
Thanks for your comments and suggestions. JoanG
Nell February 9, 2019
Fantastic move on the seafood separation. I cook all seafood on category at a time. Put in separate containers so guest can add each at a time as they get their pasta first, sauce, seafood, with special cheeses optional.
Hana November 6, 2014
Fantastic recipe. I added some sliced artichoke hearts (from a can) to mine and it was an incredible addition. I also cooked the shrimp in shallots and white wine while i heated cream and saffron separately. I will be making it again! So glad I stumbled upon squid ink pasta in Dan Brown's Inferno and then found this gem of a recipe! Joan G, I would love to know any other sauces you like to make with squid ink pasta!
lux113082 November 6, 2014
Thanks Hana,Glad you liked it and I love your variations.
I actually never tried anything else with the black pasta other than this sauce.
JoanG February 10, 2011
Thanks so much McGrace for your great review and for taking the photo to add to the recipe!
MGrace February 11, 2011
You are welcome, a pleasure to test and eat. Congrats!
F F. February 3, 2011
This looks inspired and delicious. I look forward to trying it tout suite!
JoanG February 4, 2011
Thank you so much! I hope you like it!
hardlikearmour January 25, 2011
This sounds like a show-stopper.
JoanG January 25, 2011
Thanks hardlikearmour!