Smoked trout is rather expensive but a little bit goes a reasonably long way. Here it is mixed with some glamorous vegetables for quite a fancy pasta dish, but like most pasta dishes it is quick and easy enough for a week-night dinner. And yes, it’s pasta again. We do tend to live on the stuff.
This is the time of year when I tend to strew everything with parsley because it is finally looking thick and lush; also there’s no denying that fennel and leeks need a shot of green to liven them up. A nice green salad on the side will have the same effect and finish off your meal nicely.
2 to 4 servings
30 minutes prep time
Make the Sauce:
1 medium bulb of fennel
1 large leek
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1/4 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika, possibly smoked
1 cup fish or chicken stock
Wash the fennel and trim off the stems and base. Chop the bulb into bite-sized pieces. Wash and trim the leek, slice it lengthwise, and cut it in pieces.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel and leeks, and stir to coat in the butter. Cook gently until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Stir regularly. Put the water on to boil for the past as as soon as the vegetables go into the pan.
Add the seasonings to the vegetables and mix in.
When the vegetables have softened and cooked down for about 10 minutes, add the fish or chicken stock and continue simmering.
Cook the Pasta & Finish:
150 to 225 grams stubby pasta
1/2 cup dried tomato bits
1/2 (200 grams; 1/2 pound) of a smoked trout
1/2 cup cream
1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch
sprig of parsley, and/or fennel
Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Cook the pasta until it is 3 minutes short of the recommended time on the package. Add the tomato bits when there is still 5 minutes left to go. Drain well.
Add the pasta to the pan of vegetables, and mix in well. Let cook for a minute or so, then add the smoked trout, crumbled into bite-sized pieces. Let that heat through for another minute.
Mix the starch into the cream and mix it into the pan. Stir gently, and cook until the sauce has thickened – just another minute or so.
If you have a little parsley, mince a sprig finely with a sprig of greenery from the fennel. Otherwise, just a sprig from the fennel. Sprinkle over the finished pasta to garnish.
Last year at this time I made Mallorcan Eggplant Pastel.