Our second annivesary fell on a Tuesday. Instead of arranging a sitter, fighting traffic, and being out late on a weeknight, we opted to stay in and enjoy a nice dinner. I greeted Joey at the door with a scotch on the rocks and a platter of proscuitto wrapped melon for him to munch on while I finished dinner. I turned to Giada De Laurentiis for inspiration for a romantic modern Italian meal. I finally decided on Salmon with Puff Pastry and Pesto and Champagne Risotto.
The salmon was absolutely delicious. The combination of the smooth salmon with the fresh pesto and the flaky puff pastry was to die for. Add some toasted almonds for a nice crunch and a sliced tomato to tie it all together, and you have a great meal. This would be a great meal for entertaining. It presents elegantly, but is very simple to throw together. You could make it even easier by buying prepared pesto. The recipe serves 4, but I halved it for just the 2 of us.
The risotto was by far my favorite part of the meal. The creamy texture of the rice, the salty parmesan cheese, crunchy asparagus, and crispy and salty proscuitto all came together for a really fantastic dish!
This meal really put a new spin on the traditional salmon and asparagus!
Salmon with Puff Pastry and Pesto
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 (10-12 oz) center-cut salmon filets
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup pesto
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
- Unfold the puff pastry sheet on a cutting board and use a sharp paring knife to cut 4 4 1/2 inch squares. Prick each square all over with the tines of a fork. Arrang ethe squares on one end of a baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
- Cut the salmon filets crosswise to make 4 pieces about 3 inches square. Season with salt and pepper and arrange on the other end of the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle each filet with 1 Tablespoon of the sliced almonds.
- Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown and the salmon is firm.
- Place a piece of pastry on each plate. Top with 1 Tbsp of the pesto. Arrange 2 slices of tomato over the pesto and top with the salmon. Serve immediately.
- 4 thin slices proscuitto
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 12 asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup Arborio rice
- 3/4 cup champagne
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450. Place the proscuitto slices on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until they are almost completely crisp, 6-8 minutes. The slices will crisp up even more as they cool. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the broth.
- Blanch the asparagus spears in the broth for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep the broth at a low simmer.
- In a large, heavy bottom skillet, melt 1 Tbsp butter. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat inthe butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.
- Add the champagne and simmer until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup of the broth and stir until almost completely absorbed by the rice, about 2 minutes.
- Continue cooking the rice, adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each additon of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from heat.
- Gently stir in the asparagus, the remaining tablespoon of butter, the Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spoon the risotto into serving dishes and garnish by breaking the crisp proscuitto into smaller pieces over the risotto.