Pasta with Peas and Salmon

Vermont Creamery provided ingredients for this recipe.

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We all need a few dishes we know we can cook from the pantry without a trip to the store, or for those times when you shop not knowing exactly when you'll actually get to use the ingredients (and a head of lettuce would surely end up slimy and forgotten in the so-called crisper). It's better yet if you can make it all in one pot, with as few steps as possible. This is one of those recipes. 

As I was eating a bowl of this pasta, it reminded me of something familiar that I couldn't put my finger on. Then it hit me: this is the fancy version of adding canned tuna and frozen peas to a box of mac and cheese! If that idea appeals to you, then stock up on these staples for a sophisticated yet comforting meal that can be pulled together with hardly any effort, and only one pan to wash. Even tea measurements are easy to remember!

PASTA WITH PEAS AND SALMON

makes 4 modest portions

  • 1/2 box bow tie pasta (about 1/2 lb)
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas (about 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche, more for serving
  • 1/2 package smoked salmon (3-4 ounces)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • small handful freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chives, or basil (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water––as salty as the sea––to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain off most of the water, leaving a Tablespoon or so of the water in the pot (you can tip the pan over the sink with the lid holding the pasta in, rather than using a colander).

2. Add the peas and crème fraîche to the pot, and stir to thaw the peas. Break the salmon into small pieces and add it. The crème fraîche should cling to the pasta: if the sauce is runny, return the pot to a boil for a few minutes to thicken it, then turn off the heat. Add lemon zest and the Parmesan cheese.

3. Serve topped with another dollop of crème fraîche, more Parmesan, freshly ground black pepper, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs if you happen to have them.