We had a wonderful lazy day, went for a stroll, bought some food for dinner, watched some soccer, played the game of Life (he won by $12,000...practically nothing...but he always wins!) and then watched Cool Runnings in honour of the Winter Olympics...oh and, eventually, enjoyed a wonderful SCRUMMY and romantic dinner.
Earlier in the week I had decided that I would make Pasta al Salmone Affumicato, or pasta with smoked salmon and a cream sauce, which is apparently a standard Valentine's Day dish in Italy. This dish is such a wonderful, yet easy treat...and made especially gushy when the pasta shape used is....heart shaped!
I am a sucker for pasta shapes, and...looking at these, can you blame me? Surprisingly, and unlike most novelty shaped pasta I have bought (leaning towers of piza, high heeled shoes, bob the builder) they held their shape really well and still resembled hearts when cooked!
The sauce was really easy and something that I urge anyone to try if, like me, you love smoked salmon and cream! I have made variations of this dish in the past, sort of guessing proportions and haphazardly throwing the ingredients into the pan...but yesterday I took the time to have a quick look on-line and ended up using this recipe for the correct proportions. I added some grated parmesan cheese to thicken the sauce slightly and let is bubble away longer than suggested...I think that the sauce needs to be nice and thick, besides you can always add some cooking water from the pasta if gets too thick. The main point is that the sauce takes pretty much the same time to cook as the pasta does! Oh and I reserve a bit of the salmon to sprinkle overtop!
To go with this gorgeous, creamy, velvety and did I meantion EASY pasta I wanted to try something new as a starter. I don't usually serve different courses but I thought, this being Valentine's Day and all...I would!! We agreed that a salad would be the best option...light and a good compliment to the creamy pasta that we were both looking forward to.
Salad is fine as a side dish, but it really needs to be something special to be served in its own right. In order to jazz up the baby leaves I bought I thought I would try my hand at making some candied walnuts to team with crumbled danish blue cheese (softer than stilton but not as creamy as gorgonzola) and thiny sliced Braeburn Apple (crunchy and sweet) with a simple oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
I've never candied walnuts before and used this recipe from Our Best Bites Blog. It is really easy, but requires patience and concentration!! If you have never candied nuts before this is an easy to follow recipe with great results!!
Minimal preparation time for the whole meal, minimal cooking time...lots of time to eat and enjoy hanging out with My Valentine!