Salmon and lemon-ricotta pasta

Simple but spectacular weeknight fare: seared salmon and bowtie pasta tossed in lemony ricotta and dill.

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This is another idea that came together as a result of some creative Monday-night foraging in the fridge and it works so well that it seems strange to me now that I didn't shop especially for it the first time I made it. I certainly do these days, let me tell you.

Because the salmon is only seared rather than cooked all the way through – the only way I can cook salmon, although doneness is your call, of course – everything comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta. It's delicate, in its own way, but hearty and comforting enough, as pasta tends to be, that it's a joy to both make and eat at the end of even the most harrowing day.

Cook's tip: Pasta cooking water is your friend. Dip a small cup into the water before you drain it and use it, a little at a time, to help bring any pasta sauce to the perfect consistency. Here, lemon juice starts the process of liquifying the ricotta, but you don't want it to be overly lemony. If you need to thin it more, use a little pasta water to bring it to the consistency of lightly whipped cream.

I think it's pretty to show off the salmon's beauty by serving it in slices on top of the dressed pasta. You could flake it roughly with a fork and toss it into the pasta, if you like, and this is exactly what I do if I'm making this as a pasta salad.


Salmon and lemon-ricotta pasta

 

Serves 2.

125g (½ cup) ricotta
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
200g (7 oz) farfalle (bowtie pasta)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 salmon fillet

Place the ricotta in a roomy bowl (you'll be using it to toss the pasta) and stir in the lemon juice with a fork. Mix until smooth. Add the chopped dill and mix to combine. Set aside.

Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted water for the time recommended on the packet.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the salmon on both sides for 2 minutes or side, or until cooked to you liking. Transfer to a plate or cutting board and slice or flake with a fork.

Drain the pasta and toss in the lemony ricotta. Transfer to serving dishes and top with the salmon, scattering over a little more chopped dill to finish.