Since I started taking professional courses outside of work, cooking regularly during the work week has been a challenge. So I used this as an opportunity to try various foods that I wouldn’t normally buy. For example, I discovered that I like canned Atlantic salmon. It’s closer to fresh salmon than canned tuna is to fresh tuna, in my opinion. I used it in this quick and easy, delicious pasta dish. Even Ed liked it and he doesn’t usually like cream-based sauces. Feel free to substitute the asparagus with any vegetables that you like.
Creamy Salmon and Asparagus Pesto Penne
makes 3 or 4 servings
1 can (170 g) skinless, boneless, Atlantic salmon (I used Clover Leaf brand) OR one fillet of cooked fresh salmon
1/2 bunch of asparagus, cut into thirds (tough end discarded)
3 cups dried penne pasta
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup store bought or homemade pesto (I like using basil or sun dried tomato pesto)
2 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
ground black pepper
1 small handful of parsley, dried or fresh (optional)
In a heavy bottomed sauce pot, simmer the cream over medium low heat until it is reduced by 1/4 to 1/3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add a pinch of salt to the water and add the penne. Cook until al dente as per the package directions and strain the pasta out, reserving the water. Set the pasta aside and bring the water back up to a boil. Then add the asparagus and cook until tender but still crisp, about 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the reduced cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and pinches of salt and pepper. Stir in the pesto, but make sure that the cream is not hot to the touch (warm is okay). Heat darkens the colour of pesto and makes it taste bitter. Then toss in the pasta until well combined. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Using a fork, roughly break up the canned salmon into large chunks and add this to the pasta. Also add the parsley (if using) and the asparagus. Toss gently and serve immediately.