Penne with Smoked Salmon, in Dill Cream

10 Dec

(serves 3)
If there is one herb that brings out the best in smoked salmon, it is dill weed. So why not use them together in a pasta sauce? This is a simple, yet delightful pasta dish, ideal for first timers and people comfortable in the kitchen alike. I’ve arranged the recipe so you can cook the pasta and the sauce at the same time, so you should be able to make it in under twenty minutes.


  1. Penne Pasta (3 cups)
  2. Smoked Salmon (200 g)
  3. Cream (1 cup)
  4. Grana Padano (3T)
  5. Garlic (2 cloves)
  6. Dill Weed (3t)
  7. Brandy


  1. Put a pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. Then peel and press your 2 garlic cloves. 
  2. Next, you need to flake the smoked salmon. Stack your smoked salmon pieces in 3s and roll them up.  Cut each roll lengthwise once and then proceed to slice the rolls into thin pieces.
  3. In a pot (or frying pan if you have a big one), fry the salmon in 3T of olive oil, doing your best to smash the pieces into flakes (with a wooden spatula). This should take a minute or so once the oil is hot. – By now your water should be boiling and you can put your penne into the water.
  4. With the fire still going, add 1 cup of cream and 2t of dill weed to the salmon. Cook for another minute. To round off the sauce, add 1t sugar, the pressed garlic (1 heaped t or so) and 4T brandy before you turn off the heat.
  5. Grate some Grana Padano into a fine shaving. You should end up with 3T of grated cheese.
  6. You should cook your pasta until it is still hard but no longer powdery when bitten. Penne takes longer to cook than most other pasta so this should take about 7 minutes, but will depend on each particular brand.
  7. When the penne is ‘done’ , drain it and then add it to the sauce in the pot. Continue to cook the pasta in the pot until it is al dente, or as soft as you like. If it looks like the sauce is drying up from the heat, add a bit of water. You may need to do this a few times.
  8. With the fire off, stir in your grated cheese till it melts and then divide onto your serving dishes. As a final touch, sprinkle lightly with black pepper and 1 further t of Dill weed. 


  • If you are into drinking, add the brandy at the end so the alcohol doesn’t evaporate.
  • One of the key secrets in making pasta dishes is to undercook and do the final softening in the sauce itself. This allows the pasta to capture flavour from the sauce and also keeps the temperature from falling before you serve.
  • This recipe calls for Grana Padano as it is the mildest of the grated cheeses. Although you are using only a little cheese, if you use a stonger grating cheese, the smell may overpower the primary flavour.
  • You can use Rigatoni if you don’t have any Penne handy but the 3 cups amount is for Penne.  With the bigger tubes, you’ll need a ‘larger’ amount.  I guess thats why some people use the weight rather than volume?
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 10, 2009 in Italian, Main Courses, Pasta, Recipe


Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: