It was Friday, and as I tried to lift some weights in the gym my head goes to, “what do we do tonight for dinner? going out or staying home?”. As the barbell went up over the shoulders, I was enlightened by the thought of the pesto sauce! Do not ask why, but I felt an incredible desire to eat a pasta with pesto. So then, I thought of what I could add to make it special, unique. So going through the supermarket shelves in my mind, I came in front of the fish counter, and no question about it… salmon fliet! To add more sweetness and delicatesse, I added to the bucket list some cherry tomatoes, which I imagined would give beautiful colors to the dish as well. Sorry if I annoyed you, but I thought it was nice to come up with this recipe while focusing on not hurting myself by losing control of the increasingly heavier barbells! Anyway, to make things more Fridayish, I also wanted to make my own egg pasta. I will add the recipe for fresh egg pasta soon. In the meantime, you can do this beautiful dish with either regular spaghetti (#12) or egg tagliatelle if you found them at the local grocery store. Lastly, our favorite wine pairing with this pasta dish was a Nebbiolo of 2019 that Lou carefully selected!
For the pasta
- 200g egg tagliatelle (or spaghetti #12)
- 10/12 cherry tomatoes
- j.e. Pecorino Romano (for the garnish)
- j.e. salt
For the pesto
- 60g basil leaves
- 20g raw cashews
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup of Parmiggiano Reggiano
- j.e. salt
For the salmon
- 1/2 pound (225g) of fresh salmon filet (with skin)
- 1 tablespoon of dry thyme
- j.e. salt and pepper
1. Start by preparing the pesto. Make sure to include only the basil leaves in your preparation; remove any little stalks that are still there. Wet a paper napkin and clean evry single leaf with that. DO NOT WASH them with running water, you will loose all the beautiful scents of the basil.
2. Dice your garlic glove and throw it in a bowl; then, add all the basil leaves and a sprinkle of salt. Using an immersible mixer, start crushing the garlic and the basil leaves together.
3. Add extra virign olive oil and then the cashews. Next, add the Parmiggiano Reggiano and belnd everything togther (depending how you like it, you can add more Parmiggiano, it is never enough!).
4. When the pesto is ready, transfer it to the fridge so it stays cool and fresh. Then, cut your tomatoes in halves and leave them aside.
5. Fill with water a stock pot, and add some salt in it. Place the lid, and bring it to boil.
6. While the water reaches boiling, get a non-stick fry pan and turn on the heat. Season your salmon filet with salt, pepper and dry thyme. When the pan is hot enoguh, place your salmon skin down. It will take about 7/8 minutes to cook across the filet (depending on the thickness). In the last 2 minutes of cooking time, turn the filet on the other side and let it pan-fry. It will get beautifully coloured and crispy!
7. When the water starts to boil, throw your spaghetti or egg tagliatelle. If you’re using fresh egg pasta, it will probably take 2/3 minutes to cook, while normal spaghetti will probably need 10-12 minutes (see box).
8. In a larger fry pan, throw all your pesto. When the salmon is ready, transfer to a cutting board; reserve small pieces for the final garnish of the dish, while cut the rest in small pieces. Toss those pieces in the fry pan with the pesto, add some boiling water from the stock pot. Lastly, add the cherry tomatoes that you have cut in half.
9. As you reach the last 2 minutes of cooking for the pasta, turn on the flame of the fry pan with the pesto-salmon sauce and add some boiling water. Transfer the spaghetti or tagliatelle and start mixing (ripassare) the pasta with the sauce. Continue adding some boiling water as the pasta gets too dry. This will allow to create a creamy sauce.
10. Try out a spaghetto or tagliatella, and if ready, turn off the flame. Add a touch of extra virgin olive oil and plate your dish.
11. To garnish it, add the part of the salmon filet you previuosly left aside and some grated pecorino Romano! Your pasta is ready!