Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Whole Grain Linguine, Smoked Salmon, Asparagus and Basil Crème

     A Quick, Simple, Tasty Creative Pasta!
     In traditional Italian a la minute pasta cooking, the sauce is made in the same amount of time that is takes to cook al dente pasta.  A la minute pasta sauces usuall can be finished in 8 to 12 minutes.  This style of pasta cooking is perfection oriented.  A la minute pastas are also perfect for folks that are on the go!
     Cream sauces are not really traditional Italian pasta sauces, but the exception is in Northern Italy where the weather can be quite chilly.  Along the French border, cream sauces are occasionally seen on menus.
     French chefs often make cream sauces for pasta, but pasta seldom is associated with French cuisine.  Chefs in American restaurants kind of go overboard with cream sauces for pasta.  During the 1990's it seemed like every pasta at creative American restaurant was made with heavy cream sauces.  Basil Cream Sauce is one of the old standby sauces from that era.  Even national chain restaurants offer a Basil Cream Sauce on the menu, even though it is made with a manufactured freeze dried instant cream sauce product.  This kind of Basil Cream Sauce only appeals to quantity oriented customers and not the quality oriented crowd.
     What does a Basil Cream Sauce taste good with?  The easy answer is chicken.  Every chain restaurant seems to have offered pasta with Chicken and Basil Cream at one time or another, so customer interest is fairly burnt out.
     Smoked salmon and asparagus is a natural match for a nice Basil Crème Sauce.  Basil Crème sauce accents those flavors nicely.

     Farro is an ancient grain that was popular in Roman times.  Farro refers to a whole grain predecessor of hybridized wheat.  The exact species of grain is debatable.  Spelt or Durham gets the nod of most food historians.  Either way, Farro Pasta is a rustic whole grain pasta.
     Rustic whole grain pastas have once again become popular in recent years.  Whole grain pastas do have a little bit more earthy flavor than refined semolina pastas.
     Whole Grain Linguine, Smoked Salmon, Asparagus and Basil Crème:
     This recipe yields 1 pasta entrée.
     The cardinal rule of Italian pasta cooking is to only add enough sauce to coat the pasta with flavor.  This rule even applies to pasta sauces that are not authentic Italian, like Basil Crème.   
     Step 1:  Cook 1 portion of whole grain linguine in boiling water over high heat, till it is al dente.  The sauce can be made while the pasta cooks!
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
     Briefly sauté till the garlic turns a golden color.
     Step 3:  Add 3 ounces of coarsely chopped smoked salmon.
     Add 2/3 cup of asparagus tips and bias sliced asparagus stalks.  (Thin asparagus stalks do not need to be peeled.  Thick asparagus spear stalks need to be peeled.)
     Sauté and toss the ingredients together, till the smoked salmon turns an opaque color.
     Step 4:  Add 1 tablespoon of very thin chiffonade cut basil leaves.  (very thin ribbons)
     Add 1/4 cup of milk.
     Add 2/3 cup of cream,
     Add 1 small pinch of black pepper.
     Step 5:  When the sauce starts to simmer, add 2 tablespoons of grated Parmigiana Cheese.
     Stir till the cheese melts.
     Step 6:  Simmer and reduce the sauce. till it becomes a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat or reheat it to order.
     Step 7:  By now, the whole grain linguine should be cooked al dente.
     Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Add the pasta to the sauce in the pan.
     Toss the pasta and sauce together.
     Step 8:  Use a carving fork to place the pasta on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with a fresh basil sprig.
     This simple pasta nice comfortable aromatic flavor!

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