Few dishes blow my socks off the way this Pea Pesto Pasta Salad does. Add some nice warm smoked salmon and you have the perfect Spring brunch, lunch or dinner meal. You’ll be amazed at how simple this recipe is to throw together and how incredible yummy it tastes. Don’t like peas? Give it a try, I promise you’ll be surprised.
First, credit where credit is due. For this post, I’m simply the photographer and author. My lovely wife and Editor, Eva cooked this delightful meal. Also, the author credit for the recipe goes to Jan-Erik Hagbom for his recipe “Pastasallad Med Varmrökt Lax”. This lovely recipe appeared in the nr 5 edition of my favorite Swedish cooking magazine MAT magasinet (a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law).
Jump to the Recipe
So, stay with us my friends and we’ll show how easy this goes together. First off, get some pasta water going and take your warm smoked salmon out of the fridge so it can come to room temperature. Next, gather up your prepped ingredients and we’ll walk you through making the pesto.You’ll notice we’re using an emersion blender, but you could use a regular blender or a food processor. Personally, I prefer the emersion blended, it’s easier to clean. OK, are we ready? This’ll go quick.
Layer the thawed pea, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, toasted pine nuts and then press the garlic on top. Pour the olive oil over the pea pesto ingredients along with a good pinch of black pepper. Now for the fun part.Work the emersion blender around and puree the Pea Pesto ingredients. If your using a conventional blender or food processor just pulse it.There you go, Bob’s your uncle! You just made Swedish style Pea Pesto.
It’s time to get that pasta cooking. We prefer a Penne pasta for the dish, but grab whatever shape you like. While the pasta’s cooking (to manufacturer’s directions) get your serving plate/bowls together. It’s served on top of fresh arugula, thus the “salad” part of the name.
Swedish Notes: For our Swedish readers, we used the Varmrökt Lax from the ICA fish counter. Packaged would likely be fine, but the fresher Varmrökt Lax is nice with the Pastasallad.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain reserving some of the pasta water. Toss in a mixing bowl and mix in the pea pesto. If it’s a bit thick add some of the pasta liquid to thin.
Divide the Pea Pesto Pasta and place on top of the arugula in each or your serving bowls or plates. Now place the cut or flake smoked salmon to the side. A sprinkle of toasted pine nuts, a few slivers of Parmigiano Reggiano and garnish with fresh basil! You’re ready to serve.
Once you taste the blend of the sweetness of the Pea Pesto Pasta with the smoky slightly salty smoked salmon, you’ll be hooked on this dish.
We served it with a roasted fresh tomato Caprese salad. It paired very nicely.
“Pea Pesto Pasta Salad with Warm Smoked Salmon” has been approved by Chloe for human (and dog) consumption.
Pea Pesto, would you eat this dish?
Pea Pesto Pasta Salad with Warm Smoked Salmon
- 1 lbs (450-500 gr) good quality Penne dried pasta.
- 18-24 oz (510-680 gr) Warm (hard) smoked salmon.
- ¾ cup (1.75 dl) – fresh or frozen green peas at room temperature.
- ¾ cup (1.75 dl) – grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese.
- ¼ cup Rounded,(1.0 dl) – toasted pine nuts (2 oz or 57 gr).
- 1 medium garlic clove (to be pressed)
- 2/3 cup (1.5 dl) extra virgin olive oil (use as required)
- 2 cups Arugula washed and dried.
- Handful (1 näve) – toasted pine nuts for garnish
- Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese as required Shaved (for garnish)
- 1 handful Fresh basil, chopped for garnishing.
Begin by bringing salted water to a boil for the pasta. While this is heating, toast the pine nuts being careful not to burn. The pine nuts can be made ahead.
Prepare your bowls or plates by adding the arugula. Now is an appropriate time to flake or slice your smoked salmon for plating after the pasta is placed.
Cook your pasta (according to the instructions on the package) for around 11 minutes in briskly boiling salted water. While the pasta is cooking make your pea pesto (or make it ahead).
In your immersion blender cup (or blender/food processor), layer the thawed pea, grated parmesan, toasted pine nuts and pressed the garlic on top.
Next, pour about a cup of the olive oil over the pea pesto ingredients along with a good pinch of black pepper.
Your now ready to puree the pesto. Pulse, your emersion blender, food processor or blender to combine and puree the ingredients. Using a spatula, stir the pesto to make sure it’s thoroughly blended and pureed.
Taste the pesto at this point. Salt if needed. Be mindful that the fish will add some saltiness. If the pea pesto is too stiff add a bit more olive oil and blend again. Keep in mind, that it should be a bit stiff.
When the pasta is ready, drain (reserving a cup of the pasta water). While the pasta is still hot, toss it into a mixing bowl and mix in the pea pesto. If it's a bit thick add some of the pasta liquid to thin.
Divide the Pea Pesto Pasta and place on top of the arugula in each or your serving bowls or plates. Now place the cut or flaked smoked salmon to the side of the pasta on each plate.
To garnish, sprinkle on toasted pine nuts, a few slivers of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano and garnish with fresh basil! You're ready to serve.
Although we haven't tried, we believe that cold smoked salmon would work well in the recipe instead of warm smoked salmon.