Monday, April 6, 2009

Pasta with love

Pasta Panna e salmone ( Smoked Salmon Cream Pasta)
Chef Panico made his famous smoked salmon cream pasta this weekend. For me, it's a very romantic dish, because it reminds me of the first couple of times he cooked for me.

The first time Michele made this was when we just started to date each other. We were hanging out at his apartment at Sherman Ave, Evanston. I remember it was a late night and we were hungry so he whipped out his culinary skills and cooked a late night pasta. And boy, do I mean "whipped" was the first time I watched someone fervently stir flour into cream to create a thick sauce! Lots of love and attention is put into making a really creamy sauce!

Usually you can pair smoked salmon cream pasta with farfalle ( bow tie pasta), or with penne, because short pasta sticks better with creamy sauce. This time we used Casareccia, which is a twisted/ wrapped short noodle. It's sort of like a short ribbon with gaps, which is great because the cream gets stuck in between the noodle.


one pint of half & half cream
flour ( 3/4 cup)
smoked salmon ( one pack) , cut into small pieces
chives ( one bunch, sliced into small pieces)
Casareccia pasta, or bow tie/ penne
salt & pepper
non-salted butter ( 2 tablespoons)

In a large boiling pot of water, add salt and cook the pasta.

In a small pot, pour in cream and put on medium heat. When the pot becomes hot ( before it reaches a boiling point), stir in 1 tablespoon of flour, and keep stirring until it dissolves. Once it dissolves, stir in another tablespoon of flour. Keep stirring in the spoons of flour, one by one, to avoid chunks of flour that may cake up. This may take time and you really have to tend to the cream. Add salt & pepper to cream for seasoning. When all of the flour is added into the half & half, it gradually becomes a think cream.

At the same time, put butter in a skillet and then add the chopped smoked salmon. Stir fry a bit and then add the cream mixture, and adding more salt & pepper to taste. Stir in chives, and then add the drained pasta into the smoked salmon cream mixture. Fold gently inside the skillet.

Enjoy! It's very comforting and filling and full of love...

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