Pasta and cream couldn’t be a finer match. Add roasted or smoked salmon, some fresh herbs, and even a dollop of salmon caviar, and you’ve got a sublime dinner. Best part is that it’s on the table in less than 30 minutes.
- Kosher salt
- 8 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small leek, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced (wash well) (about 1 cup)
- ¾ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or chervil
- 1 ½ teaspoons chopped chives
- 3 ounces hot smoked salmon, pin bones removed, skinned and broken into large flakes
- 2 ounces salmon caviar (optional)
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Cook the pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the pasta. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
Make sauce and serve
In a large deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the crème fraîche and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water, and cook, stirring until the pasta is coated with a light creamy sauce. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley, tarragon, and chives. Off the heat, gently fold in the smoked salmon and half of the caviar (if using). Add the lemon zest and remaining pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce.
Serve the pasta in bowls and top with the remaining salmon caviar and chives.
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Pair it Up
A dish this elegant deserves a wine to match, and an off-dry prosecco or cava with sparkling minerality is the perfect choice.
Spice it Up
Stir in finely chopped fresh red chile pepper at the end to add bright heat that is balanced by the rich creamy sauce.
Change it Up
This is a great way to use up any leftover cooked salmon. While it won’t be smoky, it will still be delicious. A slice of bacon added to the leeks will take care of that.
Lighten it Up
Smoked salmon, pasta, and cream is a match made in heaven. Don’t be tempted to use milk. Just use less cream and more pasta water when saucing your pasta.
Know Your Cook
Culinary Director Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.
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