Quick, weeknight recipe: Pesto and smoked salmon (or chicken) pasta

This is a recipe I dreamed up while on a ski trip with a house full of people. Since then, I’ve made it pretty often since my husband loves it. The recipe is super versatile too — it doubles, triples or halves quite easily as long as you have a smaller or bigger pan. It’s also designed to be prepared in one pan, so less clean up!

Although I usually start with four ounces of smoked salmon (it is expensive), but if I’m feeling rich, I’ll add up to eight ounces. Depending on your wallet, feel free to add more protein. Also, I sometimes substitute a large, 6- 8 ounce, chicken breast instead of smoked salmon —  chop it into small, 1/2 inch square-ish pieces, sprinkle liberally with garlic salt and pepper, then saute it with the vegetables. Kids like it better this way.

Pesto and Smoked Salmon (or Chicken) Pasta
Serves 4 – heats up great as leftovers too

8 ounces uncooked whole wheat spaghetti (angel hair works too but use whole wheat — it adds to the flavor of the dish)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced leek
1 teaspoon fresh, chopped garlic
4- 8 ounces smoked salmon (or chicken)
1/2 cup prepared pesto (I buy mine at Costco — their Kirkland brand. It’s fabulous)
2 T. sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parmesan
Fresh basil, chopped (optional)

Instructions:

1. Cook pasta according to directions. Leave it al dente – “to the teeth”.
2. Once you’ve drained the pasta, return the same pan to the stove and reheat pan with olive oil. Over medium high heat, saute the leeks and garlic until soft. (If substituting chicken, you add it when the veggies go into the pan. Cook chicken thoroughly.)
3. Add salmon, pasta, pesto and tomatoes. Heat pasta through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Sprinkle grated parmesan and basil on top before serving.

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