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Twice is Nice: Smoked Trout and Leek Pasta with Garlic Crumbs

September 22, 2011
The recipe we started out with.

It's been a busy summer for Sophia and I but we're happy to finally be back with our Twice is Nice posts! This week we made a recipe that Sophia found in a magazine- (I'm actually not sure which one, see photo to the left.)... I love smoked trout and I love leeks so of course I was excited to try this recipe. EMMA'S PREPARATION NOTES: I thought this dish was the perfect venue for my new favorite pasta shape: orecchiette. Orecchiete has a heartiness to it because the pasta is a little thicker, and it holds sauces well. I was imagining this dish along the same comfort food lines as tuna noodle casserole, except better.  I roasted the leeks in a low oven for a while until they became soft and sweet- to roast the leeks I tossed them in a little olive oil and salt, and added them to a baking pan with 1/2 in of water- they cook for about 30 minutes at 350.  I had a house full of hungry people so I will admit that I was a bit scattered as I prepared this dish, which led to two critical mistakes that I will not repeat. One is that I mixed the garlic crumbs into the creamy sauce so their crispiness was kind of diminished.  The other is that I forgot to add dill.  Neither of these mistakes were deal breakers- the pasta was still so delicious (especially the roasted leeks and lemon zest...), but I just knew that it would have been more delicious if I paid slightly more attention to the details. Ah well... I will revel in an excuse for making it again soon.    SOPHIA'S PREPARATION NOTES: Rigatoni is my favorite pasta shape.  When I saw this recipe I started
to drool.  I love smoked trout, which you can find at the Union Square
greenmarket, and thought this looked really great.  I used whole wheat
rigatoni, which always gives the dish a nice, rustic texture.  I traded
in bread crumbs for panko, mostly because the breadcrumbs at the market
were all herbed and buttered, and I wanted something with a bit of
crunch.  I loved the end result, because panko has a nice lightness to
it, and doesn't seem  to absorb as much oil as bread does.  When I was
cooking the leeks, I got distracted and they started to get too brown.
 I hastily opened a jar of preserved lemon (my favorite ingredient) and
poured in a lug or so to deglaze the pan.  It added a nice bitter, briny
flavor to the dish, which really complimented the fresh dill.  Dill was
invented for fish and brine, which makes me wonder why there were no
capers in the recipe.  If I hadn't put the preserved lemon brine in
there, I would suggest adding some capers.  One other note is that I
used creme fraiche instead of sour cream.  I think Creme Fraiche is Sour
Cream's snobby uncle who lives in Paris, and always use it in lieu of
creams.  I would have also used labne.  I think this dish will become a
staple in my repertoire, because it has all of the right flavors and
textures, plus it is unique enough to stand out when served to company.   

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