A healthy trio of ingredients comes together in this pasta dish to toss together for a quick and easy meal that retains a dash of elegance. At first glance, the ingredients might put you off. Why do I say that? Let’s deconstruct it. The staple of brunch and bagels everywhere, smoked salmon sometimes gets the “Been there, done that” award, plus it’s a titch on the salty side. Then there’s the frozen peas, a clear “ahem, why do you think those shriveled veggies count as veggies?” conversation chiller. Finally, we have sunflower sprouts. The problem here is, “What are they? If I can’t find them can I sub alfalfa? Broccoli sprouts? Spicy radish tendrils?”
The quick response to “the list of ingredients is boring” is, no it isn’t. And this is why.
While lox-and-bagels are the Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus of Jewish celebrations, smoked salmon is the lox’s Scottish cousin. Drier, less oily and really good at flaking — it’s what you’ll want for shredding bits of salmon to distribute equally throughout the pasta strands. Resolve the salt issue by not adding any extra and you’ll be fine.
English peas when fresh are delightfully crisp and tender with an essence recalling a misty morning, dew still clinging to the grass. True, this recipe calls for frozen peas, but if added at the last moment, the peas lose the chill and retain their natural flavor. If you’re lucky enough to find fresh English peas (and are in the mood to shell them), go for it!
Finally — the sprouts. I like sunflower sprouts because they’re a sweet, meaty mouthful, providing nice balance to the salty salmon. But I’m all for subbing. Can’t find sunflower? Don’t panic. As long as you use the freshest sprout version you can find, you’re good. Kudos for being inventive and flexible.
Smoked Salmon Tagliatelle Pasta Recipe
1/2 package tagliatelle
2 T unsalted butter
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
2 T lemon juice
4 oz smoked salmon, shredded
1 cup frozen peas
pepper to taste
1 cup sunflower sprouts, washed and gently dried
Heat water in pasta pot to boiling. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooked pasta water and drain remainder. Toss tagliatelle with olive oil to prevent sticking. Keep covered.
Melt butter in large sauté pan over medium-low heat.
Add shallots to pan and sauté until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half.
Add half-and-half, lemon juice and salmon, stirring to combine. Increase heat slightly to return to simmer but don’t let liquid boil. The lemon juice will initially curdle the cream but slow boiling will draw the solids together.
Add peas and continue simmering until sauce coats the back of a spoon.
Add tagliatelle to pan and toss gently to coat pasta with sauce.
Serve immediately in warmed bowls.
Serves 2 – 3.
When contemplating a wine pairing here, Wine Two Five Podcast host, Stephanie Davis advises imagining a glass of salmon-colored sparkling rosé from Spain. Are you with her yet? Visually, you’re nearly half-way to sensory satisfaction. Now take a sip and experience the fresh fizziness that’s sure to revive your tongue and cut through the creamy, tangy pasta sauce. The Pere Ventura “Tresor” Brut Rosé Cava fits this description and is made from 100% Trepat grapes. And at $15/bottle, it’s a fun and inexpensive wine.
Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.
Interested in Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage? Find it on Amazon and in Indie bookstores.
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