From Rebecca Wilcomb, Gianna, New Orleans, Louisiana
1 pound dry spaghetti
¾ pound sea scallops, cut into quarters (or substitute with raw Gulf shrimp)
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus a pinch to taste
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon thinly sliced serrano or bird’s eye chile (or to taste)
Pinch red pepper flakes (or to taste)
¼ cup white wine
1½ tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
4-5 basil leaves, torn
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of ½ lemon
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add enough salt so that it tastes like the ocean. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
Season the scallops with ¼ teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 1½ tablespoons butter. Once butter is melted, add scallops to the pan and lightly sear on one side, about 1 minute. Add garlic, shallot, chiles, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine and cook until garlic starts to turn a light golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine and cook for one minute more. Add olive oil, parsley, basil, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and lemon zest and toss to combine.
Add cooked pasta to pan and stir to coat in sauce. Add reserved pasta cooking liquid to thin sauce as needed. Taste and adjust the lemon juice or salt.
To serve, divide evenly into four bowls, top with seasoned breadcrumbs, and serve immediately.