Spaghetti with Bay Scallops, Leeks, and Tarragon

Prep Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
20 mins

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


  • 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

  • ¼ 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.

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