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Friday, April 9, 2010

Salmon Pesto Pasta

Check out the beautiful bowl my parents just brought me back from their trip to Ireland!

Lent. A time of preparation for the holiest day of the Christian calendar. And a time to try all sorts of new seafood dishes :) Matt picked this out for a Friday night that we are spending alone together. Since I love his input (and most importantly, because I am AWFUL at making decisions), on nights like this, I email him a list of recipes I am considering, and ask him to choose. This time, I knew what he would pick. Pesto is Matt's favorite sauce. This was a fairly simple recipe, came together nicely, and could easily be prepped beforehand (perfect for entertaining). According to Matt, even the leftovers were wonderful!

Salmon Pesto Pasta
from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

8 oz pasta (I used the full pound)
12 oz salmon (again, I used a pound)
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I used about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice (I forgot this- oops, too much vino...)
5 oz evaporated milk
1/2 cup pesto (recipe follows)
grated parmesean

Bring large pot of water, add some salt and the pasta; stir to separate. Cook the pasta to al dente, drain. Pour evaporated milk into empty pot and simmer over medium high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup. Add cooked pasta to pot and stir to combine.

Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil (we were out that night, so I skipped this :). Season skinless side of salmon liberally with salt and pepper, sprinkle with zest, then rub with olive oil. Broil until salmon is no longer translucent and is firm when pressed, about 10 minutes. Remove from broiler and sprinkle with lemon juice (forgot). Use fork to flake into bite size pieces.

Add salmon to pasta mixture and stir over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat and stir in basil. I would add a little reserved pasta water to this as well to moisten it a tad. Top with Parmesean.


1/4 cup pine nuts
5 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed thoroughly (I didnt measure, just used all of the leaves on a grocery store plant)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, Italian (optional- I opted out)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch table salt
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesean cheese

Toast nuts in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade.
Add the unpeeled garlic to empty skillet and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant and the color of the cloves deepens slightly, about 7 minutes. Let the garlic cool, then peel and add to the food processor bowl.

Place basil and parsley in heavy duty, quart size, zip lock baggie. Pound with flat side of meat pounder until all leaves are bruised.

Process nuts and garlic until finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients except cheese; process until smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down bowl with flexible spatula.

Transfer mixture to small bowl, stir in cheese, and adjust salt. (can be covered with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly over the surface or filmed with oil and refrigerated up to 5 days)

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