American Italian Main Course Recipes Seafood

Salmon with Penne alla Vodka

There have been lots of variations on this recipe over the years, but you may find this offers a nice balance while being chocked full of salmon.

Flaked poached salmon is blended with a vodka rosé cream sauce, fresh tomatoes and basil, then topped with smoked salmon.
Dining al fresco in Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, Italy. Photo: Sten Ritterfeld
Salmon with Penne & Vodka Cream Sauce

Salmon with Penne alla Vodka

Kevin Lamoureux
Poached salmon marries well with penne in a vodka rosé cream sauce while smoked salmon, fresh tomatoes and basil pack an extra flavour punch.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4
Calories 476 kcal


  • 8 oz salmon fillets
  • 3 cups uncooked penne
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup white onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed chili peppers
  • ½ tsp anise seeds
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes or passata
  • 1 cup light cream 10%
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Roma tomato seeded and chopped
  • 4-6 leaves fresh basil chopped
  • 2 oz smoked salmon cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup fresh parsley chopped for garnish


  • Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
  • Add water to a pot with a cover and a steamer basket and bring to a boil.
  • Add the salmon and poach for about 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets. They are ready once cooked throughout. Don't overcook them – they should be moist, tender and flaky, not dry.
  • Transfer the salmon to a plate and remove the skin. With two forks, flake the salmon and set aside.
  • To a large pot or wok, add the olive oil. Heat to medium and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
  • Add the chili pepper and anise to the pot and heat for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the vodka, passata and cream. Heat for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens a little.
  • Stir in the flaked salmon. Bring to a simmer, just long enough to warm the salmon.
  • Stir in the butter pasta, chopped tomatoes and basil.
  • Transfer the mixture to serving plates and top with smoked salmon and garnish with parsley.
Keyword cream, pasta, penne, salmon, vodka

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