Ellaschön (he wants something)... can you make the pasta with the salmon and the peas, please?

I thought that he was about to ask me for cassoulet, or something that would take me three hours to prepare and result in grazed knuckles and frayed nerves. No, he wanted what has to be one of the easiest suppers that I know. Don't let the fact that this dish often appears on restaurant menus as some variation on farfalle con salmone e piselli fool you.

Yep, most certainly we can have the pasta with the salmon and the peas. There's pasta in the pasta drawer; there's smoked salmon and double cream in the fridge; and there are peas in the freezer. And I can put it on the table in about 20 minutes.

I've given the everyday version of my recipe here, which serves four, but if you wanted to transform it into something a little more special, try poaching a smoked salmon fillet and flaking that into the sauce, instead of using standard cured salmon. But really, you're not doing yourself down with the less fancy version.


  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • A good slug of brandy
  • 100g (3oz) frozen peas
  • 250ml cream (double cream in the UK; heavy cream in the US)
  • 100g (3oz) smoked salmon, cut in 1cm (half-inch) squares (or you could just use a 120g packet of trimmings)
  • Butter and oil for frying
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 400g (14oz) pasta, farfalle are traditional, but flat ribbons, such as tagliatelle, work wonderfully, too


Start by putting the water for your pasta on to boil. Everyone cooks their pasta differently, but I'm of the lots-and-lots-and-lots of boiling water, a splash of oil, and a sprinkling of salt school.

Meanwhile, heat a knob of butter with a splash of oil in a large frying pan or sauteuse. (The oil stops the butter from burning.) When the butter is getting foamy, add the onion and sweat it until soft, so five or so minutes.

When the onion is soft and glassy, add your glug of brandy and let it bubble for a minute or so.

Is your water boiling for your pasta? Add your pasta and cook according to instructions.

Meanwhile, back in the onion-and-brandy pan, add your peas (still frozen) and allow them to cook through gently. That will take a few minutes.

Pour in the cream and allow it to thicken slightly on the heat. You don't want it to reduce too much, but it should feel thick and luxurious.

Just before your pasta is ready, add the salmon to the cream sauce, grind in some black pepper, stir it through, and turn off the flame. I don't add any extra salt, as I find the salmon sufficiently salty, but taste it and see what you think. The residual heat from the pan will warm through the salmon whilst you drain the pasta.

Get ready to serve. I tend to return the pasta to its pan, tip over the sauce, and mix. Then depending on whether there are guests or not, I transfer it to a serving bowl or let people help themselves from the pan. Wash down with a citrusy white wine, to complement the salmon and cut through the cream. Verdicchio is good.

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