In my hometown there used to be an Italian restaurant called Strings (which I later learned was a chain), that was “expensive” mostly because there were five of us. So our family used it as a special occasion restaurant. There was one dish that my sisters used order religiously – Salmon and Shells, so my dad decided to try to recreate it at home.
The pasta so fast and easy it makes me feel silly that we used to go to a restaurant for it, especially since I can now eat it in my pajamas or after going to the gym without feeling weird. The dish itself is pretty easy – its just smoked salmon, peas, shells and alfredo sauce.
To make it easy on ourselves we use a bottle of alfredo sauce instead of making that from scratch. But if you want to make it from scratch please do, I always mean to and then I forget about it and then its too late! Doh!
Because the original version was pretty garlicy we usually saute some garlic quickly then add the sauce in the same pot to warm it up, this time I was snoozy and lazy so I didn’t do that, I just pour the sauce into the peas and pasta and let their warmth heat the sauce.
This dish is essentially a one pot meal. Especially if you don’t warm up the sauce with garlic before pouring it in.
I cook the pasta shells and for the last minute add in frozen peas. Drain and then pour them back into the pot, add the smoked salmon and pour the sauce over it and viola! Dinner.
I used honey smoked salmon from Costco this time around, and used about 6 ounces, but I think 8 would make a better shell/pea/salmon ratio. I cut the salmon into strips then use my hands to break the strips into bite sized chunks. And yes, I wore gloves. I have issues with getting my hands dirty while cooking I’m the weirdest food person I know.
Since this is actually my sister’s favorite pasta dish, and she’s in Australia right now…following the yellow brick road to bring me a koala….I happily skyped her last night to tell her what I was eating. Needless to say she was not amused, but I was AND I got an awesome pasta dish out of it! Muhahaha.
The longest part of this whole dish? waiting for the dang water to boil.
Salmon and Shells
1 pound pasta shells
1 pound peas
8 oz (or more) of smoked salmon
1 jar of alfredo sauce (or homemade if you’re spectacularly awesome)
Bring a pot of water to a boil, I don’t salt the water since I find the salmon adds quite a bit of salt, add in pasta shells. Cook as directed on package and in the last minute of cooking add in the peas. To remind myself, I always set the timer for one minute less than the recommended cooking time, then add the peas and put 1 minute back on the clock.
While the pasta is cooking, remove the skin from the smoked salmon and then cut into long strips. Using your hands, break the salmon up into chunks. The salmon should do this pretty easily.
Once the pasta and peas are cooked, drained and either put into a serving dish or back into the pot add in salmon and the jar of alfredo sauce. Stir to combine.