6.7.11

smoked salmon and broccoli pasta bake

This week we had our 7th wedding anniversary! Lucky 7 they say, but honestly, every year I feel so lucky to have found my husband. As soon as I met him I could tell he is a really amazing person, and the right one for me.

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There is so much I could say about him, but these things don't really translate into words too well.
For a typical Englishman, he has a very gourmet palate, and loves all kinds of foods, but he really loves my cooking, which is ever so sweet, because I get a lot of valuable gifts for our anniversary, and he gets a special home cooked meal :)

So, I always wanted to try this kind of pasta bake, and now that I'm onto tea smoked salmon, I decided to do it. This meal is quite easy to prepare but really delicate in flavour, it has lots of different ingredients but is not heavy, it is quite a delightful dinner party solution as there is plenty for 4-6 people. In our case, the two of us and two extremely gourmet-oriented dogs had a great dinner and there was plenty of leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

Ingredients

2 packets (about 200g) Lapsang Souchong tea smoked salmon
250g dry penne pasta
300g (1 floret) of broccoli
25g butter
25g flour
600ml milk
100g mascarpone cheese
8 sundried tomatoes in olive oil
2 tbsp small capers
3 anchovy fillets
a handful of fresh basil leaves
50g freshly grated parmesan
cracked black pepper (and a bit of salt if you want, but if capers are salty, you won't need it)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 180 C

Boil a large saucepan full of water. Separate the broccoli into bite-sized pieces, discarding heavy stalks. Boil the broccoli for about 3 minutes, then remove with slotted spoon. Into the same water, place the pasta, add sea salt and cook until pasta is nicely al dente.

Chop the sundried tomatoes and anchovies. Cut the basil julienne-style. Separate salmon slices (this kind of salmon will be pre-cut) into generous bite-sized pieces.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan on moderate heat. To it add flour and make a rue. When you can smell the flour is cooked (but not burned) start adding the milk gradually, whisking continuously, until all milk is added and you have a smooth mix. Keep cooking for about 5 minutes until you get smooth and somewhat thickened white sauce.

Remove the sauce from the heat, and add mascarpone, mix well until all is dissolved, and then add tomatoes, anchovies, capers and basil.

By now your pasta is probably done. Drain it and to it, add broccoli and creamy sauce. Mix to combine and pour into an ovenproof baking dish. Sprinkle with black pepper. On top, arrange the salmon and using a spoon, mix a bit more, so the salmon is incorporated into all layers.

Grate the parmesan on top, toss a bit with a fork so not all cheese is just sitting on top, and bake in the oven fro about 30 minutes.

Serve hot with some rose champagne :)

Bon appétit!

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