This light and lovely recipe was inspired by Canadian celebrity chef Michael Smith whom I recall watching make something similar on TV years ago. Quick and easy to prepare, it only takes a moderate amount of smoked salmon to make this delicious pasta dish that never fails to impress. As with many culinary endeavours, the better the quality of the salmon, the more flavourful your dish will be, although I’ve used those frozen packages from the supermarket with good results! This dish is fabulous with a garden salad and a glass or two of cold white wine.
1 pound (454 grams) uncooked penne or other large pasta
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup room-temperature cream cheese, cut into 8 – 10 pieces
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 teaspoons Dijon
8 ounces (225 grams) smoked salmon in 1/2 “ slices
1 bunch fresh dill, stems removed, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
4 green onions (green parts only) or a handful of chives, sliced
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt while it heats up. This will season the pasta while it cooks.
- Add pasta and cook, uncovered, just until the pasta is cooked through but still chewy. Stir it occasionally while it cooks.
- Scoop out ½ cup of the starchy cooking water then drain the pasta but not completely, leaving it a bit wet.
- While pasta cooks, combine the lemon juice and zest with the Dijon and set aside.
- Immediately return the pasta to the cooking pot along with half of the reserved starchy water. Add the cream cheese and lemon juice mixture to the pasta, stirring gently to combine so that the hot pasta melts the cream cheese.
- Add more of the reserved cooking water as needed to ensure the creamy sauce coats the pasta well.
- Add the salmon, dill, capers and green onions or chives, stirring very gently to combine.
- Season to taste with pepper and serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.
Serves 4. Reheats beautifully with a little added milk, cream or water.