Penne with Two Salmons

By wssmom
January 27, 2011
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Penne with Two Salmons

Author Notes: In my files, I have a recipe for Ziti with Smoked Salmon that I cut out of the New York Times more than 20 years ago. I remember clipping it because I was looking for something to prepare for my non-meat-eating guests that weekend; I remember keeping it because it was so yummy. It's evolved over the years - (the amount of cream went down as the amount of vodka went up) but I think it holds true to the Times' recipe, in spirit(s) at least! Here's a link to the original: - wssmom

Food52 Review: Wssmom’s Penne with Two Salmons is a rich, satisfying pasta that comes together in a snap on a weeknight, but could also pull double duty for a more celebratory weekend soiree. The combination of poached salmon and smoked salmon boosts a classic vodka cream sauce up a few notches. The resulting dish is an elegant and flavorful study in contrasts: sweet basil and salty smoked salmon, cream and boozy tomatoes. My only note is that I cooked the mixture a bit longer after adding the vodka. Wssmom does not indicate a preferred poaching liquid, I used half water and half vermouth, with excellent results.gingerroot

Serves: 6

  • 1 pound whole grain penne
  • 1 diced sweet onion, about one cup
  • 4 tablespoons sweet butter
  • 1 14.5 ounce can whole plum tomatoes, drained, seeded and chopped
  • 1 8 ounce can salt-free tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup vodka
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, cut in strips or flaked, depending on what type you get
  • 4 ounces fresh salmon, poached and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced crosswise into stripsinto
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan, plus more for passing
  1. While the water is heating for the pasta, saute the onion in the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Put the pasta on; add to the onions the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste, turn up the heat and cook, stirring, about a minute. Add the vodka and bring to a slow boil, then turn down the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, another 5 minutes.
  3. Blend in the cream and heat until bubbling, then stir in the salmons, the red pepper and most of the basil.
  4. Drain the pasta and reserve a bit of the cooking liquid to stir into the sauce. Stir in the parmesan, turn into a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining basil.

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