Tagliatelle with Smoked Salmon and Cherry Tomatoes
It feels like I used to have a lot more time to dedicate to cooking. In fact, I know I did. But these days, it is all about figuring out the quickest way to make the best meal possible – a healthy meal that is good for the body and the brain. But sometimes I only have 15 minutes to figure it all out and make it appear on the table. And now, with my pregnancy, my attention span seems to be getting shorter and shorter.
This is where pasta comes in.
Having learned from home cooks in Italy, I know that they usually stick to a loose routine. They rotate their pasta dishes weekly, and there are ‘regulars’ which appear every week. Take my friend Alex’s mom, for example. Once a week, she will do a carbonara with fresh cheese and spagetti, a tomato-based eggplant sauce with short whole wheat pasta from the South, a fresh pesto with ziti, and then some kind of meat pasta. All of this is served with veggies on the side, but all of this is a no-brainer for her, who has been doing it like this, like much of the people in her family and country, for years and years. So I know that for her, she only really has to ask herself the question : “What should I make for dinner?” maybe twice a week.
Whereas for me, it seems to be a daily question.
Maybe it is because of my background – in Japan, there are no real ‘staple’ weekly dishes, and as difficult it is for the home-maker or the cook in the house, variety is very much appreciated. My mother, for example, never made the same dish twice in a given month.
But she was a full time stay-at-home Mom, and this is not something everyone can do.
So back to the pasta.
It helps to have a go-to pasta dish when you don’t have time and you don’t have brainpower to think up something entirely new in 20 minutes for dinner. And if you have a package of smoked salmon and some fresh tomatoes (or canned if you need), you can always whip up a good brainfood pasta in minutes.
I love this simple smoked salmon and cherry tomato pasta which takes about 15 minutes to make. So by the time your pasta is boiled to a good al dente, your sauce is ready to go as well. It is not a sauce that requires long stewing. It is fresh and light, and the smokiness of the salmon gives it a nice deep salty flavor, and you don’t need much of it. It is a good dish for DHA Omega 3, Vitamin C and A and folic acid. Make it with kamut pasta or other whole-grained pasta, and you have a good whole meal with complex carbs.
If your child is not a big fan of salmon, this is a good way to introduce the flavor without the meaty flesh – the smoked salmon falls apart in the sauce and melts with the cream.
Tagilatelle with Smoked Salmon and Cherry Tomatoes (Serves 4)
3/4 lb whole wheat tagliatelle or normal spagetti
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil or olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
½ large onion, chopped
4 slices of smoked salmon
½ cup cream
½ cup water
1. Fill a large pot with water and salt and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook following the direction on the package (should be about 8-15 minutes if it is a whole-wheat spagetti or tagliatelle)
2. In a medium pot, heat the oil on low heat and add the onions. Cook until pale and translucent., about 4-5 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. They should soften and get mushy.
4. Add water, salmon and cover, bringing the heat to medium for about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in the cream and take off the heat.
6. When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the sauce and combine well. Serve immediately.