I have my own business and don't get home until 7:30 p.m. Sometimes my husband will have eaten his dinner earlier. On those evenings, when I'm in the mood for a special but easy treat for one, I serve scallops and pasta with a glass of white wine. My husband is so tempted by the aroma and flavor that I now cook it for two if he waits until 7:30 to eat.
The ingredients include spaghetti, scallops, olive oil, butter, garlic, lemon, white wine and a bit of parsley. My one stop on the way home is for fresh scallops. Four to six large scallops or six to 10 small scallops are plenty per serving.
* First get the water boiling for your pasta. Your scallops will just take about four minutes to cook, and you don't want them overcooking while you wait for the pasta to finish boiling. Pasta takes about eight minutes to cook; so just before it's done, prepare your scallops.
* Heat a small amount of olive oil in a one-quart pan. Crush a medium-size clove of garlic and saute it in olive oil until clear, about a minute or so. Keep the heat low so you don't burn the garlic. Add a tablespoon of butter until melted. Add the scallops and saute lightly. Squirt a small wedge of lemon over the scallops and cook approximately four minutes.
* Take out scallops with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add 1/4 cup of wine and a sprig of chopped parsley and heat just until wine cooks down for flavor, about a minute. Place the scallops back in sauce to heat.
* Drain the pasta and place it on a plate. Arrange the scallops and sauce on top.
* Enjoy with a glass of white wine.
The cost per serving is about $3.50. Easy cleanup, too.
How do you get dinner on the table fast? We mean real fast. The rules: No more than one stop on the way home, no more than 10 minutes' prep time. The rest is up to you. To share your idea, write to The Last Minute, Los Angeles Times Food Section, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053. Or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.