I love pasta. With its largely Italian roots traced as far back as the 1st century BC, it just screams comfort and satisfies the most ravenous cravings. Its an extremely versatile food and perfect for those one dish, low fuss, don’t have a bunch of time meals. So when my house went gluten free, we nearly said goodbye to good ole pasta.
We will not be tackling how to make pasta in this post… that will be a different day. Surprisingly, there are a number of gluten free options found at the grocery stores, not just the Health Food stores. I buy Tinkyada rice pasta. Tinkyada rice pasta is firm and doesn’t fall apart or taste like paper nor have the gritty texture I hear most folks complain about. The main trick to using gluten free pasta is to follow the cooking directions to the letter. If you cook the pasta for too long, it falls apart. If you don’t cook it long enough, it becomes rubbery. So follow the package cooking directions for best results.
The butter noodle recipe has evolved over time, but was ultimately created by my oldest son. While he loves a good tomato sauce, he wanted pasta with Salmon and nothing more. At first I thought it sounded ridiculous, but actually – this is an extremely tasty and satisfying meal that has made its way into our weekly rotation. We have played with spices and ingredients till we found a combination that makes everyone happy. So happy we rarely have leftovers, but if we do – they are perfect for lunch the next day. I have to mention – we are dairy, soy and garlic free as well. I use a Earth Balance butter alternative and no garlic in this recipe… although I’m sure real butter and garlic would go very well here too.
While this combination works for my family – don’t be afraid to substitute veggies and seasoning. Enjoy!
¾ lbs. Salmon (or fish of choice – shrimp would work as well)
Gluten free pasta
Coconut oil (extra virgin olive oil would work as well)
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
healthy pinch salt
pepper to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
4 tbsp. butter alternative
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 head of broccoli (corn, green beans, cauliflower, peas, asparagus all work well here)
Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking let’s get the fish and veggies going.
Melt butter in a large sauce pan. Add vegetable broth, salt, pepper and 1 tsp of Old Bay seasoning. Toss in chopped veggies and lightly saute until the color becomes vibrant (6-8 minutes). Don’t overcook your veggies so they’re mushy. You’ll cook most of the nutrients out and the texture is just yuck!
Cook the fish: Cooking salmon can be tricky and will make or break the meal (no pressure – lol). My husband has this nailed… and here are some of his secrets: Pre-warm the skillet on medium/high for about 5-8 minutes with 1 tbls of good coconut oil. While that is heating, apply the Old Bay seasoning to the meat side of fish (not the skin). Once skillet is warm, add the salmon skin side down and drop the heat to medium. Hold a spatula or press (pictured) on top of the fish for 1 – 2 minutes allowing the skin to cook. The skin is an insulator to the rest of the fish. It is full of fat and will shrink (think of bacon and how it shrinks when cooking). Applying light pressure will help hold it in place till the fat is reduced and protein is set, thus keeping the insulator in place.
Cook nearly through from the skin side… DO NOT FLIP TOO EARLY. If you have to fight to flip your fish (scrape the bottom of the pan) then it’s too early. Give it a couple more minutes. When ready, flip and repeat steps but only cook for 2-3 minutes. If you’re using a thermometer, you’re looking for 125° – 135° or a slight pink inside.
Chunk/shred/cut the salmon and mix with pasta and veggies. If you don’t like to mix your food (my father-in-law hates his food touching), then serve separate. It tastes great either way! Enjoy!