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Pasta with Smoked Salmon - Pasta al Salmone Affumicato

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Smoked salmon linguini
Philippe Desnerck/Taxi/Getty Images
Pasta with smoked salmon is one of the standard Italian Valentine’s Day recipes (the versions printed are often aimed at men). This particular recipe is based on a dish of pasta I enjoyed many years ago at Il Pantheon, a restaurant in Rome.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1/2 pound pasta, either penne or a strip variety such as linguine.
  • 1/4 to 1/3 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon, shredded
  • 1/2 a shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • A sprinkling of good vodka, brandy, or whisky (which ever you prefer, about a tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (unwhipped)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • Optional: several leaves finely shredded radicchio (arugola) -- stir them in with the salmon


Bring the pasta water to a boil and salt it; in the meantime prepare the other ingredients. Cooking the sauce will take 5-7 minutes, so check the cooking time of the pasta and begin the sauce about 8 minutes before the pasta will be ready.

Start by sautéing the shallot in the butter until it wilts, then add the salmon and cook a minute or so more, stirring, until it lightens in color. Sprinkle in the liquor (vodka will add a crisper note, and brandy a slightly sweeter one), stir until it is evaporated, and stir in the cream. Heat through, check seasoning, and it’s ready; sprinkle the parsley over it at the very end, just before you use it to sauce the pasta.

This is, as I said, off the top of my head; feel free to vary the proportions to suit your taste. It will, in any case, serve 2. The wine? A white, perhaps a Chardonnay from Friuli's Collio.

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