Monday, 22 September 2014

Linguine with Smoked Salmon 'Carbonara'

Time to use up that last piece of smoked salmon, along with some fresh parsley and basil that were in the fridge. My husband suggested pasta, so I came up with this play on Spaghetti Carbonara. It was easy, quick and tasty.

Spaghetti Carbonara uses cooked bacon, along with the eggs and Parmesan. I substituted the smoked salmon for the bacon, and added in some extra herbs and lemon juice.

First, get a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. If you are using dried pasta, start finishing off the sauce when the pasta is almost ready to serve. If you are using fresh pasta, which takes only a couple of minutes to cook, start finishing off the sauce when the pasta goes into the pot to cook.

Use the time it takes for the water to boil to get the sauce ingredients prepared and ready to go...

Crack 3 eggs into a large bowl, season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Remember, smoked salmon is salty, so go easy on the salt, you can add more at the end if needed.

Grate a large handful of Parmesan.

Some will be for the sauce, and some will be for sprinkling on top when the pasta is portioned.

Finely chop:

1/4 cup of fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of fresh basil

Thinly slice 3 green onions, and cook in a small amount of olive oil, just to soften slightly.

Turn off the heat until you are ready to finish off the sauce.

Flake or chop the smoked salmon and add it to the pan with the green onions, ready to heat up at the last minute.

I had about 1 heaping cup of salmon.

When your pasta is almost ready, remove 1 cup of water from the pot to use in your sauce. Turn the heat back on and heat the green onions and salmon.

Whisk your eggs well, and add in the juice of half a lemon. Whisk well to combine.

Drain the pasta, and place it back into the large pot you cooked it in.

Add the green onions, salmon and herbs to the pot.

Then add the whisked eggs and lemon juice and mix well to coat the pasta with the eggs. Add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water. This will help with cooking the eggs, and to create a smooth sauce that will coat the pasta.

Add the Parmesan, reserving enough for garnish.

Mix well, taste and adjust seasoning, or add more pasta cooking water if needed.

                           Serve immediately, topped with grated Parmesan. Buon Appetito!!!

  • This made enough for 4 people. It can easily be doubled or divided.
  • Go easy on the pasta water when adding it to the sauce. You want to create a smooth sauce that just coats the pasta nicely, not a soup. Add a bit at a time, you may not use all of it, I didn't.
  • The heat from the pasta and the pasta water are what cooks the eggs, creating a custard like sauce that just coats each strand of pasta. This is a less saucy pasta. It is important that everything is ready to go and it gets mixed as soon as the pasta is drained, so that the heat isn't lost. Biting into a mouthful of uncooked egg is not a pleasant thing.
  • If you want a creamier sauce, add a bit of hot whipping cream with the eggs.
  • Capers, chopped fresh chives or dill, or lemon zest would add an extra zing to the sauce.
  • If you don't have salmon, use cooked, chopped bacon or even ham.
  • Fresh or frozen green peas will add colour as well as a good boost of fibre and Vitamin A.
  • Thinly slice fresh spinach and place a handful on top of each portion. The heat will wilt the spinach, giving you another vegetable option and boosting your Vitamins A and C.
  • This sauce gives you the same creaminess of Alfredo sauce, without all the calories and richness.

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