Whole-Wheat Penne with Salmon and Pink Sauce

So this post was supposed to be published a couple of day’s ago, but I happened to come back to my kitchen from a long and deserved trip; and with all the pregnancy forgetfulness ( I was convinced until a couple of hours ago that Valentine’s eve was tomorrow ;) )  and daytime napping, I just had the time to finish it now. So whether you won’t have the time to prepare it tonight or tomorrow ( even though it is a quick no-fuss meal ), you can always try it some other time.

For a complete Valentine’s day menu, I suggest you start with a light spinach or arugula salad (will post shortly) and then end the meal with a decant bittersweet chocolate cake or chocolate fondue. On Valentine’s day, allow a little bit of indulgence keeping in mind a good part for healthy ingredients for you and your loved one. We do not want to feel deprived during this day, we just want to feel the love :).

This recipe is inspired by many resources including Giada De Laurentiis’ Penne with shrimp and herb creamed sauce, and Salmon tagliatelle at Provincia, one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Lebanon.

Ingredients ( 2 servings)

  • 200 grams whole- wheat penne or tagliatelle
  • 300 grams fresh salmon fillets, skin removed and cut into cubes
  • 1 small onion, thinly diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine or white grape juice
  • 1/2 cup canned whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup light ( 3% or 12% fat) cooking cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes ( optional, you can use less or more depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 cup or less of fresh basil, chopped ( you can substitute fresh parsley)
  • 4 fresh asparagus stalks, blanched and cut into 4cm pieces ( optional)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and then the pasta. You want the pasta to be cooked al dente with a bite to it. Reserve a cup of the pasta water and drain.

Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil and the onions. Cook them until translucent then add the garlic. make sure not to burn the garlic, then add the tomatoes and the white wine and reduce a little bit. Add salt, red pepper flakes, basil and black pepper if using, then add the salmon cubes and cook for a few minutes until they slightly turn paler in color. Don’t overcook. Add the cream and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the pasta and the asparagus if using, then the fresh basil. Thin the sauce by adding a little bit of the reserved pasta water. It depends upon your taste and how you like the thickness of the sauce. Check the seasoning and adjust it to your taste.

Personally, I don’t like parmesan with seafood pastas, but if you do, sprinkle some on and enjoy immediately.

This dish contains heart-healthy omega-3 from the salmon and fiber and vitamins from the whole-wheat pasta and asparagus, if using,  in addition to lycopene from the cooked tomatoes.

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