I love creamy, rich pasta dishes. Alfredo sauce? Yes, please. Risotto? Fuck yeah. Carbonara? Now you’re talkin’… But it’s not always the healthiest option. In fact, it’s far from healthy. A high amount of butter, cream, cheese… a matchmade in heaven (IMO) but also a heartstopper (literally). And since Easter is coming up this weekend, I made an effort to try my best to eat a bit better since I have two family dinners AND a buffet brunch that weekend. Yikes.
So the result? Smoked salmon and pesto “cream” pasta.
I was really not planning on pasta AGAIN for the third week in a row but since I found out that the salmon I had defrosted was actually smoked salmon, there was a change in plans. You see, I had defrosted a whole fileted salmon in hopes of making a delicious pomegranate molasses-glazed baked salmon. But upon further inspection (and smell), it turned out to be smoked salmon. Hm… Okay. I was going to make little smoked salmon and cream cheese rotollos but since I had an epic failure of trying to slice smoked salmon myself I changed my mind yet again. Pasta. Pasta dishes never cease to fail me.
This was a perfect opportunity to also use up a ton of leftovers in my fridge and freezer as well. I had leftover stinging nettle pesto, basil pesto cubes from last summer, a dab of butter, a smidgen of cream cheese, half a lemon, some wine… Perfect. And honestly, this pasta dish tasted great as is…but I wanted to make it even better. Enter Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt is such a versatile ingredient. It acts as a great substitute for sour cream, it can add a ton of moisture in baked goods, add creaminess to smoothies and now, pasta dishes. You don’t want to heat yogurt (or any dairy product, that is) over a high heat since you run the risk of it curdling — and trust me, that is the last thing you want. Instead, I made the pesto and wine sauce on the stove, turned off the heat and tossed it with the pasta and then I added the Greek yogurt. It added a complementing tang which worked well with the lemon and white wine and a creamy aspect that you just won’t feel guilty about. Yes, Greek yogurt is full-fat but it is a MUCH better alternative to full fat cream, cheese, and a ton of butter. No?
Give it a try! So good. Also, feel free to use cooked smoked salmon as well. This is just what I had on-hand. In fact, cooked salmon would probably be a better option, texture-wise. Enjoy!
Smoked salmon and pesto cream pasta
What you’ll need:
– 500g whole wheat fettucine (any long pasta noodle will do)
– 1/2 tbsp butter
– 1 tbsp ghee
– 9 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/3 cup dry white wine
– 1 frozen homemade basil pesto cube (or 1 tbsp fresh/canned pesto)
– 2 tbsp stinging nettle pesto (or whatever pesto you’re using)
– 2/3 cup pasta water
– 1/2 lemon, juice only
– 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
– 3/4 whole smoked salmon, raw or cooked, roughly torn
What you’ll need to do:
1. Cook your pasta according to packaged directions in a well-salted pot of water. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and ghee over medium-high heat.
3. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add wine and let liquid reduce by half. Lower heat to medium.
4. Add pestos to the pan as well as the cream cheese. .
5. Add pasta water and lemon juice. If you’d like the sauce to be thinner, add more pasta water. Remove from heat.
6. Toss pesto sauce with pasta. Mix in the Greek yogurt and smoked salmon.
7. Serve with a green salad. Makes 4-6 servings.