Contest semi-finalist Matteo Rimoldi writes, "This is a recipe that my dad used to make as a lasagna in Italy. For this version I switched to paccheri (jumbo rigatoni), but the smell of the sizzling leek is the same and takes me back home."
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and washed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 to 1½ cups fish stock
1 portion (3 to 4 ounces) Sitka hot-smoked salmon, skin and pin bones removed, broken into large flakes Available in Our Seafood Subscription Box
Neutral oil for frying
½ lb of paccheri pasta
2 Tbsp of butter
Make the Sauce
Remove the outer 2 layers of each leek and cut into long thin strips. Thinly slice the remaining leeks, crosswise.
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the (crosswise-sliced) leek and cook until softened. Add some ½ cup of fish stock to the leeks and gently braise until silky and tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in additional stock as needed to keep leeks moist. Gently fold the salmon into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Fry the Leeks
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 inch of neutral oil to 375°F. Add the leek stripsand fry, stirring, until golden, 20 to 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the leeks to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
Cook the Pasta and Serve
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, removing it from the heat a couple of minutes before the suggested time on the box. Toss the pasta in the sauce pan with the leek and smoked salmon. Over medium-high heat, add ½ cup of fish stock and the butter and let the pasta finish cooking until all the flavors combine together, 2 to3 minutes. Add more stock as needed to keep the sauce moist.
Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and garnish with the frizzled leeks. Buon Appetito!