One of the great revelations of learning to cook has been that with a small handful of great ingredients you can make something that would cost you £10 a plate in a restaurant, and it will take only fifteen minutes of your time. Better to spend the money you save on a great bottle of wine.
The star of the show here is the smoked salmon; it adds just the right note of delicate smoke which, set against the heat of the chilli and the zingy freshness of the parsley and lemon zest, gets your taste buds doing a little dance in appreciation.
RECIPE – feeds 2
25g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium leek, halved and cut into 5mm slices
1 red pepper, de-seeded and cut into small chunks
150g smoked salmon, cut into 5mm slices
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
60ml dry vermouth
the finely grated zest of a lemon
a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil, add the linguine and cook until just al dente. The brand I use takes 10 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter with the oil in a large frying pan. Add the leek and pepper and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes until softened.
Add the salmon and chilli, cook for a further minute then add the vermouth (if you don’t have any you can use white wine), cook for a further minute to cook off the alcohol. Season, and set aside while the pasta finishes.
Drain the linguine, then tip into the frying pan, bring back over a medium heat and toss until well combined. Grate the lemon zest over the pasta then scatter the flat-leaf parsley. Toss again, then serve.
All this needs to accompany it is a big bowl of rocket. Quick, easy and so delicious.