This creamy penne with seared scallops checks all the boxes. It’s easy to make, delicious and perfect any night of the week.

I have had a few people tell me that they are intimidated to make scallops at home, but I’m here to tell you it’s so easy and totally worth it. I will walk you through the process step by step and can guarantee that you’ll have perfectly cooked scallops!

Creamy Penne with Seared Scallops – Healthyish Foods

Seeing how scallops have a delicate texture, I wanted to make a sauce that would showcase the scallops versus overpower them. As a result, I decided to substitute coconut milk for heavy cream in this recipe. The coconut milk is silky, light and adds an extra depth of flavor to the sauce. You can taste a touch of coconut in the sauce which is so delicious! I can guarantee that this creamy penne with seared scallops recipe will quickly become a family favorite. 

Creamy Penne with Seared Scallops – Healthyish Foods

If you’re looking for more pasta recipes, try my chicken enchilada pasta or my creamy harissa pasta

Creamy Penne with Seared Scallops – Healthyish Foods
Creamy Penne with Seared Scallops – Healthyish Foods

Creamy Penne with Seared Scallops

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  • 12 ounces penne
  • 8 ounces scallops , about 8 scallops
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, extra to drizzle over the pasta
  • 3/4 cup shallots , diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • ¼ cup white wine , I used sauvignon blanc
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 can coconut milk, 13.5 ounces
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1.5 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste


  • pasta pot
  • cast iron skillet
  • saute pan
  • colander


  • Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta according to the package. Be sure to cook the noodles al dente because they will continue to cook when you add them to the sauce.
  • Once the noodles are ready, drain the water, rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking and drizzle the noodles with olive oil so they do not stick together. Set aside.
  • Next, we will prepare the scallops:
  • Remove the scallops from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. Be sure to peel the heel off of the scallops. It’s a small slightly harder part on the scallop that isn’t as soft in texture or taste. Once all of the heels are removed, pat the scallops dry with a paper towel.
  • Season both sides with salt and set them aside.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Once the pan is really hot, you’ll spray it with cooking spray and add the scallops to the pan. You should hear the scallops sizzle when you add them to the pan.
  • Let the scallops cook for 1.5- 2 minutes on each side. This will give you a golden-brown sear. Remove the scallops from the pan and set them on a plate. Set aside.
  • Next, we prepare the sauce:
  • In a large sauté pan with sides, add the olive oil, shallots, garlic and salt. Over medium heat, let the ingredients get tender and begin to brown.
  • Next, you’ll deglaze the pan with white wine. I used sauvignon blanc. Be sure to scrape up all of the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan. Once the white reduces by half, you’ll add the tomato paste. Stir until well combined.
  • Next, you’ll add 1 can of coconut milk and ½ cup of tomato sauce from a can. Season everything with a little more salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir over low heat until well combined.
  • Add the parmesan cheese and 1.5 tablespoons of butter. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated into the sauce.
  • Finally, you can add some fresh chopped Italian parsley into the sauce. Be sure to reserve some as a garnish.
  • Assemble the dish:
  • Once the sauce is well combined, add the penne pasta into the pan. Toss everything together until the penne is well coated in the sauce. Add the saucy noodles to your favorite serving dish and nestle in the scallops.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!