Friday, 4 November 2011

Combining Three of My Favourite Food Items into One Dish

Some of my favourite food items include smoked salmon, pasta and mushrooms.  With all of them in my fridge and freezer, I decided to combine them into a one-dish dinner, Smoked Salmon Pasta in a Creamy Tomato Sauce.  The smoked salmon I used was sockeye prepared in what I call the "East Coast" or lox style, whose texture is closer to that of raw fish rather than fully cooked fish, a trait seen in the "West Coast" style, though the "West Coast" version could just as easily be used.  Sockeye is a particularly flavourful variety of salmon, and its flavour shone in this dish.  Atlantic smoked salmon can also be used, especially if one prefers a milder taste.

I unfortunately didn't have dill, which would've paired quite well with the salmon, so some fresh thyme had to do in this particular case.  For pasta, I used fusilli (tri-colour perchance), but any pasta with lots of surface area for the sauce, such as fettuccine or bowties, will do.

Smoked Salmon Pasta in a Creamy Tomato Sauce
450g pasta
~140-170g smoked salmon
~500mL tomato sauce
8-10 white or porcini mushrooms
250mL cooking/whipping cream
~250mL freshly grated parmesan
~5-7g fresh dill or thyme, stems removed
Olive oil
Salt, preferably sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
  1. Cook pasta until al dente or as per package instructions. Drain and set aside, withholding up to 250mL of pasta water if necessary.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat large pot over medium heat.  Drizzle some olive oil and add mushrooms.  Add a pinch of salt, some pepper and a splash of cold water and cover to cook for ~4 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and add cream into pot.  Cover and let cook until cream is simmering.
  4. Remove lid and add tomato sauce, stirring until mixture is evenly mixed.  Cover and let cook until mixture is simmering.
  5. Remove lid and add smoked salmon and herbs.  Stir until evenly mixed, using the spoon or spatula to break up the salmon into smaller pieces.
  6. Remove from heat, stir at least 3/4 of the parmesan into the mixture, then add pasta and stir until evenly mixed.  Add pasta water if there is insufficient sauce to evenly coat all the noodles or the sauce is becoming dry.  Add pepper to taste and serve, sprinkling extra parmesan on top if not completely used.

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