Ben and I had a small celebratory dinner last night, just a little nod to the fact that we have now been together for 2 and a 1/2 years. We don't really celebrate anniversaries, why if we love each other why do we have to congratulate ourselves for sticking in the relationship? We are together and it's great, there is no reason to count or list the days, hours, minutes that we've lasted.
But nice dinners together are something that I think we both cherish, so there is no reason that we can't do that on a weekly basis, and just enjoy each other.
I sent Ben a few different options for dinner. We decided on a pasta dish because neither of us could remember the last time we had pasta (which is almost a crime.) We also like trying new things and neither of us had ever made scallops before, and they are a food that we both like. So we experimented, guided by a cooking light recipe.
Seared Scallops with Asparagus & Linguine
1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated linguine
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp Romano cheese, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Handful of chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 lbs sea scallops
In a medium size pot bring the water to a boil to cook the pasta. While waiting for the water to come up, rinse and cut the asparagus into bite size pieces. Once boiling place the asparagus in the water, let come up to a boil again and then add the pasta in. Cook according to the package (2-3 minutes) then drain pasta and asparagus in a colander over a bowl. Combine pasta, 1/4 cup cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, chopped basil, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and pepper in a large bowl; toss well.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Sprinkle salt evenly over scallops; add scallops to pan. Cook 1 minute on each side or until golden.
Serve pasta with scallops on top and extra lemon wedges on the side. Sprinkle with cheese to finish the dish.
So the pasta was good, not great, the flavors were there that Ben and I love but we had a few issues with the dish. First, apparently I don't like fresh pasta, for some reason the texture was too chewy, it stuck together and I just didn't enjoy it. So if we make this again the first thing we would do differently is use dried pasta.
The second thing we would do is not over cook the scallops. I said "Ben it says scallops one minute on each side, that's it, don't over cook the scallops" about 7 or 8 times before we started to cook them. (Ben was in charge of the scallops while I did the pasta.) It got to the point where I knew I was annoying him, but I had this feeling that he would cook and cook and cook the scallops and they would be like rubber. Well...that's exactly what happened. We sat down to eat and Ben popped a scallop in his mouth, looked at me and smiled..."I over cooked the scallops," he said. Oh well...at least we'll know for next time. I'm sure that we will make scallops again, I can't wait to perfect it.
One last thing that we would change, adding the cheese to the pasta while it was hot made one big clump of cheese in the middle of a bunch of pasta, because the temperatures of the cheese and the pasta were too cold to have the cheese mix in well, so I would just take that whole part out and add the cheese on the top over everything at the end. I would also next time use Parmesan cheese not Romano.
But all that said, the flavors were there, the lemon, asparagus, seared scallops, it was yummy and I can't wait to redo it and make the dish really a winner. Ben took the leftovers to work today for lunch so...it was good enough to keep and eat again, just not as fabulous as we thought.
The night was not ruined because this is what we love, to cook, eat and be together, it's fun to be in the kitchen, mixing, stirring and pouring. I boss Ben around, his dinner gets cold while I try and take a million pictures and for us, this works.