If you’re late back from work and need a quick fix, or you’re cooking for friends and don’t want to miss out on conversation then this simple pasta dish is your new best friend. Liberating ingredients from the fridge to presenting a finished dish at the table takes fifteen minutes, even less if you are using fresh pasta.

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{The Facts}
  • Serving size | 2 people
  • Preparation | under 5 mins
  • Cooking time | under 10 mins
  • Calories | >600 per portion
{The Ingredients}
  • 160g pappardelle
  • 120 grams smoked salmon finely sliced
  • 200ml half fat creme fraiche
  • 1 leek chopped
  • A handful of fresh dill chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper


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If you are using dried pasta, which after much deliberation I have come to realise that I much prefer, bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook your pappardelle nests according to the packet instructions. Allow 80 grams of pasta per person which I usually find equates to about 4 nests. If you are cooking fresh pasta you might want to jump to do the next step first to prevent your pappardelle overcooking or cooling down.

Fry your chopped leek on a medium to high heat in a drizzle of olive oil with a few grinds from the pepper mill to add depth to the flavour. it’ll take about 6 to 8 minutes to get the leek nice and soft, keep it moving in the pan while you cook it to prevent any of the smaller pieces browning too much. If you are using fresh pasta then time your cooking to coincide with the leek. Remove the leek from the heat, drain your pasta and keep a small amount of the liquid to one side. I learnt this trick from Jamie Oliver… He always retains a small amount of pasta water to loosen the sauce if required without loosing flavour. It’s a top tip.

Return the strained Pasta to the saucepan, mix in the fried leek, salmon and chopped dill and stir on a very low heat for around a minute to keep the pasta nice and hot. You’ll notice the salmon starts to turn light pink as it begins to heat through. Finally add the crème fraîche and a spoonful or two of the reserved pasta water if the sauce needs thinning, season to taste and serve immediately. Perhaps with a green salad but definitely with a glass of white wine.

Try It Out

The thing I love about this dish is that you can tinker with the ingredients and tweak the amounts to suit your taste. I like the subtle flavour of the leek but you could use an onion instead or add a clove of chopped garlic if you want to pep it up a bit. A squeeze of lemon juice is another good idea and certainly cuts through the oily richness of the salmon and crème fraîche.