Present-day fasting laws are very simple: On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the faithful have only one full meal (abstaining from meat) and smaller snacks to keep up one's strength, and; on the other Fridays of Lent, the faithful abstain from meat. We get in the habit of having fish on Fridays and often continue to have seafood on Fridays long after the Lent period has ended especially as the springtime weather turns muggy and hot.
Not being big fans of the frozen, pre-breaded fish by-products commonly included in TV dinners since the 1950s, we are always looking for ways to avoid getting into a Lenten rut. Earlier in the week, Dom had fired up the Big Green Egg and grilled some cedar-planked salmon of which there were some leftovers. This creamy salmon alfredo is rich and flavorful. We might not mind getting in a rut if this dish becomes a regular on the Friday menu!
- 1 pound pasta of choice (we used farfalle)
- 1 ½ cups low-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese (light is fine)
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 pound salmon, cooked (smoked or canned)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Capers, drained and patted dry (optional)
Prepare a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium. Add shallot and cook until soft. (You may add a few drops of water to help soften if needed.) Sprinkle flour over softened shallots and mix well. Add milk a little at a time and mix until flour has completely dissolved. Cook on medium heat stirring continuously for 8 minutes, then add cream cheese and mix until incorporated. Simmer for 2 more minutes before adding Parmesan cheese and salmon. Reduce heat to low and simmer until pasta is done.
Transfer the cooked, drained pasta to a mixing bowl and pour the salmon sauce over the top. Gently toss the pasta and sauce together to combine fully without breaking up macaroni. If the sauce seems thick and hard to mix, add some of the reserved pasta water a ¼-cup at a time. Serve the salmon alfredo immediately with a garnish of drained capers and an extra sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.