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Spaghetti with Bay Scallops, Leeks, and Tarragon


Sweet and briny bay scallops pair well with the mellow flavor of leeks in this light pasta dish.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Source: Everyday Food, July/August 2008


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 leeks (about 1 pound), whites and tender green parts halved, thinly sliced, and washed well
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound bay scallops, patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-low. Add leeks and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add leek mixture to pasta in pot (reserve skillet).

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium. Add scallops and lemon zest; cook, tossing, until scallops are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to pot with pasta. Add tarragon, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and lemon juice; toss, adding enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta. Serve immediately.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS12157780
    5 FEB, 2011
    Oh lupieslupe, I think you should try to like (keep trying it) Tarragon. Scallops with Tarragon Sauce is the 'cat's meow'!! But if you insist, try Thyme or maybe even Dill.
  • lupieslupe
    7 JUL, 2010
    I am not fond of tarragon. What can I use as a substitute?
    • ALR8221474DW
      16 AUG, 2017
      Tarragon can be too overpowering, if used too generously, lupieslupe..try a smaller amount. Perhaps it's 1 of those "acquired" tastes for you. Once you try it in other things-egg dishes, etc.- you may find that the herby, floral essence of Tarragon is mice. And, if not, then Martha is right on to suggest thyme &/or lemongrass w. those yummy scallops. Good luck.