A great pasta, some wild salmon and lemon sauce equal heaven

By Jim Bailey

Recently, I was asked to give my impression by a PR firm in New York CityYankee Chef logo to give my impression of several products made by Giovanni Rana, an Italian pasta maker for more than 50 years. Among the packages I received was some plain and spinach fettuccine called paglia e fieno, which translates to straw and hay.  If you didn’t know this pasta was prepackaged and store-bought, you would never think it wasn’t homemade. Texturally spot-on and perfectly delectable, it takes 1 minute to cook to be ready for whatever dish you are making. For more recipes using several of the Rana products, visit my blog (until my site is done) at theyankeechef.blogspot.com.

Creamy lemon fettuccine with wild salmon

Keeping it simple yet having a dish scream out taste is easier than one may imagine, especially when you have superior products. Lemon touches all taste buds here, but still leaves room for the spinach flavor to come through from the fettuccine.

Fettuccine with salmon and lemon sauce.

Fettuccine with salmon and lemon sauce.

6 ounces ricotta cheese
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon-flavored olive oil*
8 ounces wild salmon fillets, skinless and cut into bite sizes
1 (8.8-ounce) package of Rana paglia e fieno fettuccine
Julienned bamboo shoots, optional

In a small bowl, whip ricotta cheese with lemon juice, fennel seeds and cayenne pepper until very creamy. Taste for salt and pepper and set aside. Over medium-high heat, add the flavored olive oil to a large skillet. When hot, gently place the salmon fillets and cook 1-2 minutes per side, or until gently cooked but still pink and translucent inside. Remove from oil and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook fettuccine according to package instructions and strain. Wipe skillet clean (you do not have to wash or remove any fond that may be sticking to the bottom of pan) and add ricotta cheese mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium heat while frequently stirring. Add the pasta and blend to coat evenly. Remove from heat and divide among two serving dishes. Top evenly with cooked salmon and garnish with some julienned bamboo shoots.

*Simply make your own by cutting thin strands of lemon peel from one lemon and adding them to a cup of extra virgin olive oil. Bring to scalding over low heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, strain and use within 12 days refrigerated.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at theyankeechef@aol.com.

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