Monday, October 1, 2018

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Roasted Salmon and Peas

What is it about a creamy, dreamy pasta dish that can turn a bad day upside down?

This particular recipe is exactly what I want to be eating right now. It's bursting with fresh lemon flavor, but at the same time it is the perfect comfort food dish thanks to a decadent bechamel sauce and buttery roasted salmon. We aren't diving head-first into rich wintertime casseroles, rather we're tip-toeing into what is (in my opinion) the best time of year for cooking. 

Let's talk about this Creamy Lemon Pasta with Roasted Salmon and Peas. Surely it is reminiscent of pasta carbonara, with a super creamy sauce (though not from eggs), a rich fatty protein (this time salmon over bacon), and little bursts from frozen peas. For the pasta, I used bucatini which I just love particularly for it's chewier, sturdy texture. It holds up extremely well to our cream sauce, which is made all the more irresistible on account of it starts with sauteed garlic and sliced leeks in a bit of butter and olive oil before finishing with a generous sprinkle of lemon zest and juice <3 

Oh, and by the way...the salmon? It is AMAZING on it's own, a dinner in and of itself. We are simply taking it to the next level by breaking it up and tossing it into this pasta dish. I roast the salmon skin side down on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and drizzled with olive oil. Then, I generously season the flesh with salt, pepper, and dried thyme. Lay a few lemon slices over the top before baking and viola! Perfectly cooked, ridiculously simple salmon. 

Let's bid farewell to summer and welcome fall with this fresh and cozy pasta! 

Here's what you need for Creamy Lemon Pasta with Roasted Salmon and Peas* (Print Recipe!)

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 ounces wild-caught salmon
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 lemon, zested
1 pound bucatini pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, white and light green parts only cut in half, cleaned of any dirt and sliced into ribbons
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 heaping tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the baking sheet and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Cut 2 slices from the lemon and lay on top of the salmon skin. Roast for 15 minutes until medium doneness, then remove from the oven and set aside.

While the salmon roasts, prepare the pasta. Cook in a large pot of salted water according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain and set aside.

In the same large pot, melt the butter together with the remaining olive oil over low heat. Add the leeks and the garlic and cook until fragrant and softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and the zest of the lemon. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and whisk until no white bits remain. Slowly whisk in the milk to ensure there are no lumps. Increase the heat slightly and cook until thickened but not boiling, stirring frequently. If the sauce becomes too thick, add in some of the reserved pasta water until desired consistency is reached. Stir in the peas, then the pasta along with a squeeze of lemon juice. 

Break apart the salmon from the skin and into bite-size pieces. Add to the pasta pot and give everything a final gentle toss until totally combined. Adjust seasonings as desired. Serve at once.

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe

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