Monday, November 1, 2010

Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Balsamic Reduction

We lived in Switzerland for about two months.  Not sure if that counts as "living".  But, I think so.  We were working at ETH in Zurich with our advisor.  Scot and I had an amazing time.  We wanted to stay forever.  Except that we missed our dog way too much.  I think we have an unhealthy attachment to him.  Sorry...he is the best dog in the whole world.  

Now, the food in Zurich was basically forgettable.  Mostly because it was so expensive we didn't eat any.  We lived off of bread, nutella, yogurt, and butter.  And this pasta!  

See, the cafeterias at ETH were amazing.  Better than most restaurants in America.  The cafeteria in our building (and, therefore, the one we mostly ate at) was different from most because it only served pasta and rice dishes.  However, they did it so so right.  First, the pasta was homemade and freshly prepared.  Can you believe it?  Homemade pasta at a cafeteria?!?!  And there were several different sauces to choose from.  My favorites were this salmon dish and the bolognese sauce.  And even though I ate one of the two, pretty much every day, I actually never got sick of them.  And I had to try my hardest to eat all of it because I needed to get the calories in, because who knew what our dinner would be.  

I have made my own version of this pasta a few times.  It is a short cut pasta with a light cream sauce (with some finely chopped veggies in the sauce).  It is topped with plenty of grated parmesan, smoked salmon and a balsamic reduction. I chose this time to make a flourless white sauce.  And I really liked it.  It is much thinner than a traditional cream sauce.  Instead of making a roux, you just reduce the liquid to thicken the sauce.  Once the sauce is combined with the pasta and parmesan, I think it is the perfect thickness.  I apologize for the four pans and pots.  But nothing gets that dirty so it isn't too bad to clean up.  

Lastly, if you can't find a bottled balsamic reduction, you can easily make your own.  Just reduce balsamic vinegar over medium high heat until it has reached a syrupy consistency.  I would start with about a cup.  

Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Balsamic Reduction

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
salt and white pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of finely diced carrots
1/4 cup of frozen peas
1 lb short cut pasta like Campanelle
handful of grated parmesan
4 ounces of smoked salmon
drizzle of balsamic reduction

Fill a large pasta pot with water, cover, and bring to a boil.

In a large, deep skillet heat the chicken stock over medium high heat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and reduce to about 1/2 cup.

In a separate small saucepan, add the heavy cream. Over medium to medium high heat, bring cream to a simmer and let it foam up. Reduce by half, whisking often to prevent burning.

Add cream to the chicken stock and whisk to combine. This will be thinner than a traditional cream sauce, but it will all work out when you add the parmesan when serving. Season with salt and white pepper.

While the sauce is going, add the butter and olive oil to a skillet. Add shallots, cook for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute. Add carrots, cook for 2 minutes. Add frozen peas, leave skillet on burner and turn off heat. Stir occasionally.

Once pasta water is ready, add pasta and cook until done.

Add vegetables to white sauce. Drain pasta well and add to sauce and veggies. To serve, place pasta and sauce in shallow bowl. Sprinkle with a generous amount of grated parmesan. Put 1 ounce of smoked salmon on top. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 25 min., Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea you spent that much time abroad...and you can consider two months "living" in my book! We also have spent some time in Europe, but the cost of the food definitely impacted what we were able to eat! This pasta dish looks simple and delicious. Thank you for sharing!