Where has this dish been all my life?! Why did it take me so long to create such a simple and elegant supper that I can throw together for my family in 30 minutes and feel confident enough to serve for a last-minute dinner party? This one takes the cake when it comes to versatility and sophistication! I love how the salmon melts into the pasta and the saffron cream coats every noodle so that every bite is a burst of flavors that leaves you wanting, well, a bigger fork! My husband walked in the door after work and looked at me and said "My God! What is that amazing smell!?" he took one bite and melted into his chair! I’ll take that as one of the best compliments I could ever receive!
*This dish uses 3/4 of a bag of dried pasta which can be bit annoying, I know, but I like to use the leftover past for soup. I always have handfuls of different pasta shapes in wrapped up bags lying around my pantry for when I feel the desire to whip together some homemade soup.
Serves 4 hearty bowls or 6 smaller portions
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, season the salmon with a ½ tsp of the salt and some fresh ground pepper and set aside.
In a large skillet (large enough to add the pasta at the end) melt the butter over medium heat until it starts to brown a bit and smell toasty and nutty. Be careful not to burn the butter, it happens quickly. Add the leeks and the other ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste. Sautee until the leeks start to melt into the butter and brown slightly, about 3-5 minutes. Add the vermouth and the saffron and simmer until the vermouth is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the cream and bring to a simmer. While you are waiting for the sauce to simmer, cube the salmon fillet into 2-inch large chunks.
Add the Salmon cubes to the simmering sauce, cover and cook over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes. Uncover and turn the salmon cubes. Layer the spinach on top of the salmon and cover for another 3 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted a bit. Uncover and stir everything together. Add the pasta and stir, breaking up the salmon a bit as you go. Be gentle, you don’t want to break apart the salmon pieces too much. Cook for a few minutes longer, allowing the flavors to mingle. If the pasta starts to appear dry, add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up. Top with the chopped chives and serve.