Since I bought my pasta machine a few years ago, I make home-made pasta at least once a week. A bit of elbow grease has never been bad for someone who likes to cook as much as I do, so I see it as part of my work-out – a way to justify the massive portion of pasta that I’m about to eat.My favourite shape of pasta is tagliatelle, and sometimes tagliolini (slightly thinner strips). I like to eat it with rich, creamy sauces like the one below. Sauces like these are really at their best served immediately, because they thicken quite a lot on standing. To time this dish perfectly, make the pasta dough first, roll it out and cut into strips, then make the sauce, then quickly cook the pasta and toss the 2 together. And the vodka?
I once had the most delicious vodka pasta at a proper Italian restaurant in Stellenbosch that has unfortunately been closed for years. I still long for it! The vodka really adds a unique flavour to the dish, giving it a delicious acidity and slightly sour flavour – it goes so well with the sour cream and chives! If you don’t have vodka, substitute with some dry white wine of your choice.
Ingredients for tagliatelle:
- 400 g all-purpose flour
- 4 XL eggs
- 4 L boiling salted water
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Ingredients for sauce:
- 15 ml olive oil a small bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 50 ml vodka
- 250 ml sour cream
- 1 cup fish stock (or chicken stock or vegetable stock)
- 1 T tomato paste
- 400 g canned salmon
- salt and pepper
- handful of fresh dill and chives, chopped
- smoked salmon strips for garnish (optional)
Step 1Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add spring onions and garlic, and fry for 2 minutes.
Step 2Add vodka, then cook to reduce by half.
Step 3Add sour cream, stock and tomato paste, then stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
Step 4Add salmon and simmer on low heat for 2 minutes.Season with salt and pepper.
Step 5Remove from heat, then add dill and chives and stir through.Cover and set aside.
Step 6To make pasta: in a food processor, combine flour and eggs until the mixture resembles couscous grains. Turn out on a wooden board, then press into a ball. Using a pasta machine, roll out sheets of pasta to a thickness of your choice (I prefer them quite thin), cut into tagliatelle strips, then cook in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, then drizzle immediately with extra virgin olive oil.
Step 7Return the drained tagliatelle to the pot you cooked them in, then pour hot sauce over (re-heat if necessary), stir to coat pasta well, and serve immediately. Garnish with extra herbs and smoked salmon strips.