(sent by Eshta)

Pasta with smoked salmon is one of the standard Italian Valentine’s Day recipes (the versions printed are often aimed at men). This particular recipe is based on a dish of pasta I enjoyed many years ago at Il Pantheon, in Rome.

1/2 pound pasta, either penne or a strip variety such as linguine.
1/4 to 1/3 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon, shredded
1/2 a shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
A sprinkling of good vodka, brandy , or whisky (which ever you prefer, about a tablespoon)
1/2 cup whipping cream (unwhipped )
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced parsley

Optional: several leaves finely shredded radicchio (arugola) — stir them in with the salmon

Bring the pasta water to a boil and salt it; in the meantime prepare the other ingredients. Cooking the sauce will take 5 -7 minutes, so check the cooking time of the pasta and begin the sauce about 8 minutes before the pasta will be ready.

Start by sautéing the shallot in the butter until it wilts, then add the salmon and cook a minute or so more, stirring, until it lightens in color. Sprinkle in the liquor (vodka will add a crisper note, and brandy a slightly sweeter one), stir until it is evaporated, and stir in the cream. Heat through, check seasoning , and it’s ready; sprinkle the parsley over it at the very end, just before you use it to sauce the pasta.

This is, as I said, off the top of my head; feel free to vary the proportions to suit your taste. It will, in any case, serve 2.