Growing up my mom always made me the same favorite dish on my birthday: creamy salmon pasta. It always felt special because we rarely ate the dish outside of our Christmas Eve menu. It had such a fancy air around it because of the salmon, but it wasn’t until I went to college and started cooking for myself that my eyes were opened to a simple secret – the dish is ridiculously easy to make (there’s only five ingredients in it!). It’s still just as special in my eyes because of the nostalgic memories attached to it, but fortunately now it can also be my go-to meal when I’m not feeling very creative – or, better yet, when I want to wow someone else with my deceivingly elaborate meal.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add 1 box penne or farfalle (bowtie) pasta (*try Barilla Whole Grain for extra flavor and nutrients). Add a dash of salt to the water. While the pasta cooks (approx. 10-11 minutes for al dente texture), saute a clove of garlic in a large pan with 1 tbs. olive oil. Add 1/2 pint (8 oz.) heavy whipping cream to the pan and let simmer 1-2 minutes (remove garlic at this point). Cut 1 pkg. smoked salmon into small pieces and add to pan. Simmer until cream starts to thicken. Before straining the pasta, add a few tablespoons of the starchy water to the cream pan (this helps the cream stick to the pasta). Strain pasta, then add it to the pan and continue stirring on low heat for another minute to fully coat the pasta with the cream. Add a dash of dry or fresh parsley and freshly cracked black pepper and serve.