It translates as pennette pasta with smoked salmon and vodka. It’s and old Italian classic, very popular as a quick fix when you have friends around unexpectedly and you want to feed them. It’s a very simple dish, packed with flavour (if you like smoked salmon of course) and very easy to make. There are a few versions of the recipe; some people like to add some halved cherry tomatoes into the sauce, at the very end, and others like to garnish the dish with different herbs. I personally like the minimalist version of the recipe, without tomatoes, and the only herb I use is parsley. A little word of advice; this is a dish to be served quickly, when it is still piping hot, because the sauce has the tendency to dry quickly because of the cream.
Ingredients (Metric & Imperial measurements)
Nutrition facts: Calories 650 per serving.
Ingredients (U.S. measurements)
Note: I deliberately don’t list the salt among the ingredients because the smoked salmon is already salty and the pasta is boiled in salty water.
Roughly chop the onion and put it in the food processor.
Process the onion, to make it like a purée.
Finely chop the parsley.
In a sauce pan, melt all the butter and then add the pureed onion.
Sweat the onion off for a few minutes on gentle heat (3-4 minutes will be enough).
Add the tomato purée.
Stir for a few seconds to evenly mix the tomato purée with the onion.
Add the salmon trimming to the pan and raise the heat from gentle to medium.
Break the salmon trimmings down with the wooden spoon and cook the salmon for a couple of minutes (keep stirring).
Add the vodka to the pan.
Give it a quick stir. Now you have two options. You can either keep stirring until the vodka vapours have vanished (2-3 minutes) or you can flambé.
If you chose to flambé, this is at your own peril! If it is the first time, check the internet first, watch some videos in youtube and be cautious. I ignited the alcohol with a chef torch and the flames suddenly appeared all over the pan. When the flames die down, continue with the recipe directions.
Reverse to low heat and add some ground pepper if you like.
Then, add the all the cream.
Simmer for a few minutes to reduce the sauce. This stage will take roughly 10 minutes, giving you the time to boil the pasta. If the pasta is not ready and you notice that the sauce is reducing/drying too much, you can add half a ladle of the water you are using to boil the pasta, to loosen the sauce a bit, and continue simmering until the pasta is ready.
Alternatively, you can remove the sauce from the heat and cover with a lid. When the pasta is ready, loosen the sauce with half a ladle of the water you used to boil the pasta and then coat the pasta with the sauce.
Here, I am throwing the pennette pasta into the boiling water. Remember to cook the pasta al dente (firm to the bite).
The pasta is ready, the sauce is reduced to the right consistency.
Quickly add half of the parsley to the sauce.
Stir for few seconds.
Finally, quickly drain the pasta (leaving the pasta slightly wet) and add the drained pasta into the sauce pan. Stir to make sure that all the pasta is coated with the sauce. When serving the pasta, you can garnish with a bit of extra parsley.
Federico Pezzaioli is an ex-badass Italian Paratrooper on a mission - to make creating delicious authentic Italian food really easy. He researches, writes and photographs each recipe with the same attention to detail he used to apply to packing his parachute.
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