As we race through the last days of summer, I am craving cool, crisp recipes. In what will seem like the blink of an eye, we’ll be eating the rich, hearty meals of fall and winter once more. There will be stews, soups, and casseroles. The grill will be covered and abandoned. Citrus flavors will exist primarily in the form of sweet Clementines around Christmas.
So, while this is a hot recipe, it’s flavors are summery. Salmon, fresh from the grill. Lemon, the zest and the juice. Basil, plucked from the garden. A cream sauce that is somehow rich and light at the same time.
Here’s what you need. I forgot to photograph the salt, pepper, and flour. You’ll need that too. We had already grilled our salmon, so add that step if you haven’t yet.
Cook the pasta.
Reserve about a cup of the cooking water. When the pasta is done, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
Zest and juice two lemons. Chop the garlic.
Melt the butter in a large skillet.
Add the lemon zest, juice, and garlic. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Try not to drool in the pan.
Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the heavy cream slowly while stirring. Stir constantly while the mixture thickens. If it gets too thick for your liking, add a splash or two of milk.
Flake the salmon. Add it and some chopped basil to the sauce and noodles. Toss.
If the mixture is too thick, add a splash of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up. It should be creamy, not gloopy. Is gloopy a word? It is now.
Now that I think of it…don’t banish this recipe to the summer. It is hearty enough to stand up to the cold days ahead, yet it will evoke the tastes and flavors of summer. And, really, who doesn’t need a summer pick-me-up in late January??
- Grilled Salmon (I'm really not sure how much we had here. It was two adult sized portions and after flaking it, we got about four meals from this recipe. Grill it with just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.)
- 1 lb of fettuccine
- 4 T butter
- Zest and juice of two lemons
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 pint of heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 basil leaves, chopped
- Cook the pasta until al dente in boiling, salted water. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
- Melt butter in a large skillet. Add the lemon zest and juice and the garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add the flour and cook 2-3 minutes. Pour in a pint of heavy cream while stirring. Continue to stir frequently until the mixture thickens. If it gets too thick, add a splash or two of milk. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Flake the salmon. Add the cream sauce, salmon, and basil to the pasta. The sauce should be warm enough to reheat the pasta, but you may want to run some hot water over the pasta first. Toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up. Serve immediately.