Salmon & Pancetta Linguine

This recipe reminds me of the Kitchen Cabinet, a BBC Radio 4 podcasts in which food critics and well-known chefs debate culinary topics and give advice on making the best of the seasonal produce and cooking. In one of the episodes, the panel members jokingly suggested that the three main ingredients they would have always suggested to use were pork, cheese and cream. In this case, pancetta and salmon are a perfect match. I am using smoked salmon here, but the trimmings some supermarkets offer would do just as good. As for the pancetta, I usually buy mine cubed directly from the supermarket, but were you as lucky as to have the chance to get it directly from a butcher, then please do so. If you can’t get your hands on pancetta, then lardons is a good substitute. Should that also not be available, use bacon, but please opt for non smoked and rindless.

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Ingredients

  • 300g linguine
  • 70g pancetta cubes
  • 100g smoked salmon
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • black pepper
  • sea salt (for the boiling water)
  • oil

Method

  1. Put some sea salt in a pan and add water. Bring to the boil, then throw in the linguine and cook according to packet instructions. Stir frequently and keep an eye on the pasta so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or the linguine don’t melt into a big gluey lump.
  2. In a shallow pan, heat some oil and throw in the pancetta cubes. Stirring occasionally, fry for about 4 minutes. By this time, the pancetta should have crisped up a bit. At this stage I usually remove the pancetta cubes which are just made of fat and don’t contain any meat at all as I don’t like biting into them. I leave them in at the beginning so as to add extra flavour.
  3. Throw in the spring onions and cook for another 5 minutes, until softened, stirring frequently. By then the pancetta will be nice and crispy. Add the smoked salmon slices and cook, stirring, to break them up as soon as they firm up. That shouldn’t take more then 3 minutes. Once that is done, take off the heat.
  4. Put the sour cream in the pan with the sauce ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Drain the pasta and tumble in with the sauce. Add the parley and a good grinding of black pepper, then give a final stir and serve.

Tips

  • This can also be transformed into a very nice and unusual carbonara. When you are making the sauce, add 50g of frozen peas together with the spring onions and cook for an additional 5 minutes in order to dry any water. When you are draining the pasta, reserve a cup of the boiling water. Tumble the pasta with the reserved pasta water and add 2 egg yolks, then put the pan back on the heat and keep on stirring for 2 minutes, until all the pasta is covered with the sauce. Stir in the parsley and double the amount of black pepper and serve. 
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