Lemony Crème Fraîche Pasta With Trout Roe

December  1, 2021
5 Stars
Photo by Melina Hammer
Author Notes

When I don’t have much time but want something that feels special, I often turn to crème fraîche or trout roe. These are small luxuries with a big payoff. In this recipe, I use both for a pasta that’s beautiful, delicious, and ready in a jiff. A specialty of France, crème fraîche is like sour cream’s sophisticated cousin. It’s richly creamy, with just a little tanginess. (If you can’t find it in a store, did you know you can also make your own? With just heavy cream, buttermilk, and a little time—learn how to here.) Trout roe literally glows. It brings sweet-briny flavor to anything you add it to, with a bursting, wonderful clack against the teeth. You can find trout roe at specialty markets or some fishmongers. But if you can’t find it, salmon roe works, too—just add a bit less, since it’s punchier. Field garlic is a wild ingredient that grows in so many places. From yards to parks, it grows in shaggy clumps like chives (which make a great substitute). To test, tear a stem and smell it. If it smells like garlic, bingo. With the landowner's permission, harvest it with scissors. And while I love angel hair for its delicate chewiness, spaghetti, linguine, or other long pastas work equally great.
Melina Hammer

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the water
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 6 ounces (¾ cup) crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped field garlic or chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 (2.8-ounce) container trout roe
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill sprigs, roughly torn or chopped
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, finely grate the zest of the lemons and add to a large bowl. Halve one of the lemons, squeeze out 1 tablespoon of juice, and add to the zest.
  2. When the water is boiling, generously season it with salt. Boil the pasta according to package instructions for al dente. When it’s almost done, reserve about ¾ cup of the pasta water—we’ll use this for our sauce.
  3. Use tongs to transfer the noodles to the bowl with the lemon zest and juice. Add the crème fraîche, field garlic (or chives), salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Add ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water and toss again, adding more water as needed to yield a glossy, satiny sauce. Add half the trout roe and stir to incorporate.
  4. Divide the pasta between 4 shallow bowls. Spoon the remaining roe on top of the pasta. Garnish with the dill, plus more field garlic (or chives) and black pepper.

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When she's not writing, cooking, styling, and shooting her forthcoming cookbook - out Spring 2022 with Ten Speed Press - Melina makes food look its best for the New York Times, Eating Well, Edible, and other folks who are passionate about real food. She grows heirloom+native plants and forages wild foods at her Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. There, Melina prepares curated menus to guests seeking community, amidst the robust flavors of the seasons.

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