This creamy smoked trout pasta recipe combines really well with Belgian endives. A light, healthy and fast to prepare weekday dish full of flavours.
When I start cooking, I often just look at what is available in my pantry and fridge and will experiment to see if any combinations I have not tried before go well together. At one point I had some Belgian endives and smoked trout and decided to combine them into a creamy pasta. And I must say, it turned out better than expected.
What ingredients to use for smoked trout pasta with endives
- Smoked trout: I use a pack of smoked trout fillets which are available in most supermarkets.
- Belgian endives: The leaves of endives are often used raw to hold smoked trout as a cold appetizer. But why not combine them both into a warm, creamy pasta? By frying the endives, the flavour becomes milder and more caramelised.
- Pasta: I have used penne for this recipe because it’s a creamy sauce and the shape of penne holds a creamy sauce really well, but feel free to use any other type of pasta you like. However, keep in mind that not all pasta types will hold a creamy sauce.
- Cream cheese: I prefer to use cream cheese over liquid cream as a base for a cream sauce since it makes a sauce lighter. But you can easily replace the cream cheese with cream if that’s what you have available.
- Horseradish: I use a jar of prepared horseradish which is made from grated horseradish root, oil and vinegar. If you have an actual horseradish root, you can grate it yourself and use some of this in the dish. With its sharp mustard-like flavour, horseradish gives this smoked trout pasta recipe some extra punch. The horseradish flavour pairs really well with both smoked trout and Belgian endives.
- Pink peppercorns: I love to use pink peppercorns as decoration with fish. The bright colour makes a dish so beautiful and adds a slight pepper/chilli flavour to the dish, but they can fast overpower a dish so don’t use too many. Also be careful with allergies!! They are related to cashews and anyone having a tree nut allergy may have an allergic reaction. More info here.
How to prepare creamy smoked trout pasta with endives
All the information regarding ingredients, quantities and cooking time can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
This pasta recipe is fast to prepare. While the pasta is cooking you can already start making the sauce. Finely slice the endive after having cut out the bottom and the hard inner part and fry together with the diced onion in a skillet.
To make the sauce for this pasta dish, I use cream cheese instead of cream. But as said before, you can easily replace the cream cheese with cream if you have that available at home. While the pasta is cooking, I scoop out some cooking water to use as a base for the creamy sauce. It’s important to mix the ingredients well before adding them to the pan. Take a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and the horseradish and pour in the cooking water. Mix well with a whisk until you get a thick and smooth paste.
Add this cream cheese paste over the frying onions and endives and let it simmer on low heat. When the pasta is cooked and drained, add the pasta to the sauce and mix well. You can turn the stove off now. Only after the sauce and pasta are mixed together can you add the flaked smoked trout which you toss gently so the trout doesn’t break into small pieces. The trout will absorb just enough heat from the pasta which is good because you preferably do not want it to get too hot. Finish the dish with some fresh chives, grated parmesan cheese and pink peppercorns and serve immediately.
Smoked trout pasta with Belgian endives
- 225 g /8 ounces penne
- 125 g /4.5 ounces smoked trout cut in 2 cm squares
- 1 Belgian endive chopped
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon horseradish
- 3 tablespoons parmezan cheese grated
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon fresh chives
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water as per the indicated time on the packet. Just before draining scoop out 1 cup of cooking water. Drain the pasta.
- Glaze the onions in the olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet for 5 minutes. Add the finely chopped endive with the onions in the same skillet. Add the butter and fry on medium heat for another 5 minutes.
- Mix the warm cooking water from the pasta with the cream cheese and horseradish paste. Mix well so you get a smooth paste without lumps and add this to the skillet with the onions and endive. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and let it simmer on low heat for 5 more minutes.
- Add the drained pasta to the vegetables in the same skillet and mix gently on low heat. When the pasta is covered in the onion and endives sauce, add the pieces of smoked trout and mix gently into the pasta. The smoked trout will be mixed in but does not have to be hot, it just takes a gentle heat from the food.
- Finish off with the grated parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle some pink peppercorns and fresh chives over the plated dish.
- Pasta: Penne works very well with this dish, but any other pasta you like will work.
- Olive oil or butter: Belgian endives are normally braised with some butter but I started with glazing the onions in olive oil, because I prefer cooking with olive oil over butter. When adding the endives I add a teaspoon of butter, just for the flavour.
- Parmezan cheese: I always have a block of Parmezan or Grana Padano cheese in my fridge, ready to be grated. You can also use a bag of ready grated Parmezan or Grana Padano cheese for this recipe. I would not recommend any other cheese, like Gouda or Cheddar because this flavour will overpower the taste of the trout and endives, in my opinion.
- You can use fresh cream instead of cream cheese mixed with the pasta cooking water. For me though, adding cream would make the dish too heavy because I prefer to have a lighter meal with trout and endives.
Inspired to prepare this recipe? Don’t forget to pin it to your Pinterest board for later.