I guess this is bowtie pasta week here at the Widow. I was surprised to open the cupboards for some pasta and find that I had only long noodles or bowties, so bowties it was. Again. I love smoked trout in the Autumn, it goes well with so many other autumnal ingredients (sage, hazelnuts, apples, bitter greens). I make a salad with smoked trout that is also tasty, but that will have to wait for another day.
Aside from waiting for the onions to caramelize for the confit, this pasta comes together really fast; you're really just warming ingredients. I like to put the onions on and go about my day, keeping one eye on them, and then about 30 minutes later, I get started on the pasta. Don't be tempted to skip the onions; I think they add a necessary sour balance to the rich cream sauce. If you don't have the time to make the onion confit, you might want to try a packaged brand, such as the Vidalia onion relish I found at Trader Joe's; it's a little sweeter, but will still accomplish the same task. Tri-pepper preserve is also a good choice.
Smoked Trout Pasta with Maytag Sage Cream Sauce - serves 2
1 recipe onion confit - but use one whole onion
4 ounces short pasta such as gemelli, bowtie, small penne, etc
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces Maytag Bleu or other delicious and salty bleu cheese
15 sage leaves, cut into chiffonade - don't use dried
salt and pepper
1 smoked trout fillet, about 6 ounces
Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain. Place the hazelnuts in a dry saute pan over medium heat and roast, tossing occasionally, until they release some of their oils and become fragrant (4-5 minutes, be careful, nuts burn very easily). Set aside to cool, then chop roughly in a food processor or place in a bag and beat with a rolling pin.
Place the cream in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat just to keep the cream at a simmer, add the sage, a good pinch of black pepper (cream loves it!), a pinch of salt, and a few dashes Tabasco, and allow to simmer quietly for about 5 minutes. Crumble in the bleu cheese and the trout; stir until hot; another 5 minutes or so, and toss with the pasta. Place in bowls and top with chopped hazelnuts and onion confit. You might want to serve a nice bitter salad or lemon sorbet after - this is super rich.