What I love about this recipe, other than the ingredients (smoked salmon, pine nuts, yum!) is that it can be pulled together so quickly and it's not particularly heavy, as so many cream sauce pastas can be.
There's also room for maneuvering; add more or less wine or cream to taste; leave out the pine nuts if you can't be bothered; add some asparagus or cream cheese if you want; use smoked trout or sturgeon instead of the salmon.
The essentials are smoked fish, lemon, garlic, and pasta with some olive oil, wine, and or cream binding them together.
Smoked Salmon Pasta
- 8 ounces spaghetti (or other) pasta
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped shallots (can substitute onions)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine (can substitute pasta cooking water with a Tbsp of lemon juice)
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (divided into 1 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or dill
- 4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into bite sized pieces
- Fresh ground black pepper
Put pasta water on to boil:
Heat to boiling a large pot with at least 4 quarts of salted water in it. (2 Tbsp of salt for 4 quarts of water.)
Toast the pine nuts:
While the water is heating, brown the pine nuts. Put the pine nuts in a single layer in a large skillet. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove pine nuts from pan and set aside.
Start cooking the pasta:
Once the water is boiling, add the pasta to the pot. Cook uncovered on high heat at a rolling boil. Put the timer on for 8-10 minutes, or whatever your pasta package says is appropriate for al dente (cooked but still a little firm).
Once the pasta is done, and before draining the pasta, scoop out one cup of the pasta cooking liquid and reserve.
Prepare the sauce:
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, cook for 2 minutes, then add white wine, lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp of lemon zest. Increase the heat and let boil down by half.
If you want a slightly creamy sauce, add the cream and let boil a minute more.
The sauce should be done about the same time the pasta is done. If you get done earlier with it than the pasta, take it off the heat.
Add pasta, some pasta cooking liquid, smoked salmon, toasted pine nuts, parsley, zest to sauce:
Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the sauce. Add back some of the pasta cooking liquid to the pasta if it is a little dry. Add the smoked salmon, toasted pine nuts, parsley, and the remaining lemon zest. Season with freshly ground black pepper.