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Serves four

Pasta stirred with brown butter and sprinkled with breadcrumbs is a comforting, homespun dish that can be made in minutes. Add scallops and you have a dish fit for company. You can prepare this in the time it takes to boil pasta. Make it a vegetarian entree by substituting blanched vegetables (such as asparagus or cauliflower) for the scallops. Some people have trouble telling when a fat sea scallop is done; quartering them makes the job easy.

16 ounces linguine (may use spaghetti, angel hair, fettuccine or other pasta of choice)

6 tablespoons butter

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12 large sea scallops (about 1 pound), chopped into quarters

1½ tablespoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup toasted breadcrumbs (preferably homemade), plus more for garnish

2/3 cup chopped parsley

Kosher or sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

1. Boil pasta in a large pot of salted water over medium-high heat until al dente, about eight minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

2. While pasta is boiling, melt butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the butter, stirring regularly, until the solids are just beginning to turn brown, about three minutes. Spoon about 1 teaspoon butter over the breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Add the scallops and cook until they are just cooked through, about one minute.

3. Remove from heat and stir in garlic and lemon juice. Dump the scallops and brown-butter sauce over the pasta. Add breadcrumbs and parsley, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Divide into four large serving bowls and garnish with breadcrumbs.

Per serving: 789 calories (25 percent from fat), 37 grams protein, 109 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 21 grams fat (11 grams saturated), 84 milligrams cholesterol, 635 milligrams sodium.

From Wendell Brock, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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