Maybe you don’t love to cook. I get it. You’ve got a lot going on, work has been super stressful, and the kids are running around with water balloons and makeshift machetes and expelling the last of their summertime energy along with every last one of your fragile, frayed nerves.
Or maybe you don’t have the kid thing happening, but it’s the end of a long day, your feet hurt, your brain hurts, and you feel like you actually have to sit down to put on your sweatpants and hesitate before standing to pull them the rest of the way up because that requires even more energy, and you’re pretty sure you need to reserve what’s left for uncorking that bottle of Malbec you brought home.
Do you like to eat?
And I’m not talking about hurriedly stuffing shovelfuls of dry cereal into your mouth at the end of a long day — I’m talking about the good stuff. Like when you spring for a thoughtful meal at a nice restaurant or when you head home to visit family and take that first bite of Mom’s special stroganoff she used to make when you were a kid. It’s that feeling you get when someone cares about what’s going into your belly. When someone took the time to prepare something real and unprocessed — when their goal was to fill you with sustenance and good feelings.
And I guess my question for you is, Why don’t you do that for yourself?
Maybe you struggle with weight. Maybe you don’t. But maybe, very likely, you frequently feel guilty about the things you put inside your mouth.
The food things.
And the problem is, if you listen to everyone — the people who say you shouldn’t consume fat, the ones who say it’s not fat — it’s the carbs, the experts who say you should only have meat, and the articles that tell you that all meat is bad, the labels that swear their ingredients are “natural,” and the loopholes that let them get away with un-truths — there’s a very good possibility that you’re going to grab the easiest convenience food you can find and stuff it down your throat because your head might explode if you’re forced to listen to one more rule about what you can or cannot eat, and then you spend the rest of the night cursing your own lack of restraint.
And that’s not healthy for anybody.
So my food philosophy? Eat what’s real, eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re not, and most important, stop stressing about it so damn much.
Also, treat yourself with respect. Take a little time. Because really – there is nothing more important to do tonight than fueling yourself with something good.
And tonight? I have just the thing. It’s only 6 ingredients and takes 15 minutes to make — 20 minutes, tops. AND I AM THE SLOWEST COOK IN THE HISTORY OF EVER.
Smoked Salmon Dill Pasta
Now listen. If you don’t like smoked salmon, that’s okay — substitute sautéed mushrooms! Want more veggies? Toss in a handful of spinach or arugula. Need a bit more bite? Throw in a tablespoon of capers or a dash of your favorite hot sauce. This is a pretty forgiving recipe, so feel free to play around with the flavors you like.
I based this off of this amazing salmon dill pasta I had at Sherefe in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I was there to take photos for CityView magazine and when I was finished, they were kind enough to let me inhale the dish:
This is exactly why everyone — including me — needs a set of these.
Also, I may have accidentally-on-purpose drooled on the pasta after I was done photographing it so they’d let me eat it.
In this world, sometimes you have to make your own job perks.
I also used this recipe for basic measurements and ingredients.
To make it like I did, you will need:
- 1/2 lb. dried linguine (or spaghetti or any kind of long, squiggly pasta)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small red onion (cut in half from root to tip then thinly sliced)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 oz. mascarpone* cheese (this is a creamy cheese usually found in the “fancy cheese” section of the grocery store — you could probably substitute cream cheese if necessary)
- 1 cup. half-and-half
- 200-300-ish g. smoked salmon, roughly sliced (I used a couple of packages — you could probably get away with just one, depending on how much you like smoked salmon)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped (first add 1 Tbsp, taste, then add more if want more dill flavor)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Optional: sautéed mushrooms, capers, arugula
*I just realized that I have been pronouncing and spelling “mascarpone” as “marscapone” for years. My whole life is a lie.
My new kitchen doesn’t get a lot of natural light, hence the fuzzies. And please ignore my raw drywall.
Let’s get a closer look at the produce, yes?
I have to ask – is there a prettier herb than dill? Like vibrant green feathers.
And take a look at these onions. It’s really important that you slice them thinly. I prefer using one of these to do the job, but you can also do it by hand.
Here’s how to make it:
1) Boil a large pot of salted water, add your pasta, and cook according to package directions.
2) While the water’s heating up, mince the garlic, chop the dill and salmon, and slice the onions so everything’s ready-to-go. When the pasta only has 5 or 6 minutes left to cook, heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat.
3) Toss in the sliced onions, stir, and let them cook for around 3 minutes or until soft and translucent.
4) Sprinkle in the garlic (you can do this before the onions if you don’t love a strong garlic flavor), and let sizzle for around 30 more seconds.
5) Pour in the cup of half-and-half, as well as the 4 oz. mascarpone cheese (or a dollop more if you’re feeling frisky).
I used about half of the container.
Stir until the cheese melts, then turn the heat to low.
6) Drain the cooked pasta and throw it into the cream sauce.
Toss to combine, then add the salmon…
And also the dill…
And any other ingredients you might want, and then season with salt and pepper. Taste. Die. Come back to life and stir until heated through. The sauce will thicken a bit as it heats. If it’s too thick, add some more cream or milk — if it’s too thin, add some more mascarpone.
Do what feels good — the world is your rich, fatty pasta.
It will totally make your hair shine.
It’s creamy, comforting, and delicious. Perfect for summer or winter, and it seriously takes almost no time to make.
Bottom line? When you feed yourself crap, you will feel like crap. It’s as simple as that.
Tonight I want you to feed yourself something delicious.
This is a really good place to start.