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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ravioli with Smoked Salmon and Vodka Cream Sauce - Pink Saturday





From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I met for a last lunch with Mrs. S. before Bob and I made the big move from Chicago to the East Coast. It was a small gesture to thank her for all she had done for me through the years. We met in an Italian restaurant and spent a loud and lovely afternoon laughing and retracing the path through the field of memories we shared. Within the year her great heart would seize and surrender, a passing that was quick and painless for her but left those who loved her reeling. On that day, however, we spoke of things silly and serious. Among the silly, were her thoughts on my choice of pasta. She insisted it was not Italian. Turns out she was right. I was having a prototype of what would become penne with vodka sauce and part of the nuova cucina that raged across the United States in the 1980's. Vodka is not native to Italy and it wasn't distributed there until the latter portion of the 1970's. It's thought that vodka sauce for pasta was probably developed to attract people to the beverage. We know that vodka sauce was invented at Dante, a restaurant in Bologna, Italy, but Joanna's Restaurant, in New York City, is credited with beginning the fad for vodka sauce in the United States.

Several years ago, I developed a recipe for a competition that used a vodka cream sauce. A few of you may have seen it on the Better Recipes website. It won no prizes, but it is one of the best recipes I've developed. I'm proud of it on several levels. While expensive to make, it is very easy to do and, with all due modesty, I'll tell you it's absolutely delicious and perfect for family or guests. Mrs. S. would be proud to see that all those hours she spent with me weren't wasted. Here's the recipe.

Ravioli with Smoked Salmon and Vodka Cream Sauce...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients:
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup vodka
1-1/4 cups whipping cream
4 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into strips about 1/4-inch wide x 2-inches long
1 pound fresh or frozen cheese-filled ravioli
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced Italian parsley for garnish

Directions:
1) Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet, large enough to hold ravioli and sauce. Add red pepper flakes and saute for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Remove pan from heat and carefully add vodka. When pan has stopped sizzling return it to a burner set on medium-high heat and cook until vodka has nearly evaporated. Add cream and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salmon, reduce heat to very low and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the salmon to steep and infuse the cream. Salt and pepper to taste.
2) Meanwhile, bring a 6-quart pot of water to a boil. Salt water, add ravioli and cook, per package instructions, until just until tender. Drain. Add ravioli to salmon-cream mixture and toss gently to coat. Evenly divide ravioli among 4 shallow pasta bowls; spoon any additional sauce evenly over pasta. Garnish with minced parsley and serve. Yield: 4 servings.

This post is being linked to:
Pink Saturday, sponsored by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

62 comments:

noble pig said...

It sounds amazing and I love the salmon in here.

Alessandra said...

:-) lovely story, I remember the vodka penne of the 80's, I was a bit too young to appreciate them maybe...but it was one of the first signs of Fusion cuisine. I don't know what we can define exactly Italian or not in these cases, maybe a recipe done first in America is American, but if it has pasta and pasta is not traditionally American can you still say that it is American just because it was invented there? And what about if the chef is, let's say, French? Does it transform it into a French dish? Or would you look at the pasta/vodka ratio to see which percentage could be Italian and which Russian (if you are not using a Finn vodka, that is ;-0)

It is great because one can talk for hours about all these possibilities!!!!

My Little Space said...

Haven't try making my own ravioli yet but will soon. I love any kind of pasta. So, this looks yummy to me!

Debinhawaii said...

Gosh this looks amazing--so creamy, decadent and good!

dottydotty said...

vodka cream suace sounds very yummy happy pink saturday

pigpigscorner said...

The sauce looks and sounds great! I've heard a lot about vodka sauce but have never tried it, I have to!

chapot said...

I love this recipe, it looks so delicious

Jolita said...

Vodka sauce sounds adventurous! :) I must try this!

Susan said...

Mary, I think, secretly, I have been looking for this recipe for a long time. We have tried several vodka sauces and some were ok and then there was the one that was so-so. I know if you say this is good, IT IS GOOD!! Loved your story, once again.

Vanillastrawberryspringfields said...

Oh what beauties with pinky underrones-so apt for pink saturdays arent they-am yet to discover pink sat's...

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Mary, what an interesting story about the vodka sauce and Mrs. S. touched my heart. Happy pink Saturday.
Sam

puna said...

Mary, of course I'll visit you! I know I haven't been here lately but I tell you...this ravioli is giving me a hankering for some pasta!

Katy ~ said...

Oh my gosh! Is that like the most tempting forkful!

Lori said...

I love Penne Vodka so I am quite sure I would love your dish Mary. It sounds abosolutely delicious. Hmmm Absolute- isnt that a brand of vodka.

Congratulations on winning! I am off go check out your link.

Lea Ann said...

Fabulous post Mary! Loved the story. I can't wait to try your recipe. It looks really really good. Thanks so much for sharing this and the history.

La Table De Nana said...

I have made Fettucini Natasha.. variations on Vodka sauces..but never have I accompanied it w/ Raviolis..Genius!! And beautiful..Now I have to make the sicilain pork chops too:)

melissa said...

Hi Mary - this recipe looks fabulous!! You must be so proud!!
I will most certainly save and make this recipe. My older boys will love it! They actually both like to cook and we enjoyed making a few meal together over Christmas when they were home from college (including penne alla vodka).
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Marsha (Sassy Mini Dolls) said...

Hi Mary!

Happy New Year!

I am HUNGRY and these looks so delicious!! My favorites, salmon, ravioli. Hmmmm the vodka cream sauce . . . I'll have to see if I can get hubby to make this!

If you stop by my blog, you'll see that I am ready to set the table for this delicious meal, LOL

Happy Pink Saturday!

((Hugs))
Marsha

Cathy said...

I've already printed this out, Mary. Your vodka sauce sounds so delicious with smoked salmon and cream. I can't wait to try it.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Wonderful, what a treat! Perfect for a special occasion. It must be ravioli week. I am posting some tonight and I just watched Bobby Flay's ravioli throw-down.

Sonia said...

Wow, we love salmon at our house...especially my son...must try this as we are ravoli lovers too! Can't wait to taste this one! Have a great PS! Miss Bloomers

happilyretired said...

I've got to remind myself to EAT before I visit here ... seriously! Your views of food always make my mouth water. Salmon is a favorite of mine. Happy Pink Saturday ;-)
Hugs and blessings,

George Gaston said...

Mary, a wonderful read and delicious looking recipe. Many thanks...

bj said...

o, Sweet Mary...visiting you always leaves my mouth watering for the beautiful foods you prepare. Tell me, dear heart, do you EVER have just hot dogs or cereal or bacon and eggs? Your meals are so beautiful and so delicious sounding. I wonder how I've gone this long in life without the BEAUTIFUL foods. Mine are all so common..uninteresting..
I just haven't taken the time to learn to cook like this...my loss !!
Thanks for this magnificent recipe...

someplace in thyme said...

I remember many years ago having a pasta machine. I bought it from the Speigel magazine, was already to start making pasta from scratch, but it never really happened. I found it to be way too much work for someone that had no idea what they were doing. It had a ravioli attachment as well. I got rid of the machine years ago and now wish I still had it. Your recipes always looks so perfect and make my mouth water each week, Happy Pink Saturday, Char

Ivy Lane said...

i love vodka sauce..never had it with salmon... this recipe looks divine... I shall try it!!!

Happy Pink Saturday!

Joanne said...

Vodka sauce is one of my favorites and I can only imagine how delicious it is paired with ravioli and smoked salmon (two of my other favorites). I loved the story you told to accompany this. Mrs. S sounds like a great person.

Mary said...

I only hope that when I pass, someone dear to me describes my life and passing so poetically. This is lovely is many ways Mary. Thank you.

My Crafty Little Page said...

You "cooks" amaze me! What a sweet story and the dish sounds so good. :)Nancy

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Groan....I went on a diet Jan. 1 ( along with all the other New year's resolutions) and have to stick to it for at least three months. But, I did print this off and hope to make it. I have just discovered that I love salmon. I don't think I can sub the whipping cream for no fat/low fat stuff can I? Happy New Year and Pink Saturday! xo

Vanillastrawberryspringfields said...

Thanx so muc Dear Mary-u have a very wonderfull blog here too and cant afford to miss any of ur elciious posts so yeah am following ...
Love ur info on the raddish...
We too do slice it finely,long and soak it in water for a few hours and crunch on 'em with a sald or lunch but so love ur idea of the buttered pumpernickel...will try it soon...

Cottage Rose said...

Hi Mary; So nice to meet you,, thank you for stopping by and the sweet comment.... Your recipe sound so yummy,, I love that sauce, but never made it too chicken I guess,,, but yours looks pretty easy even for me...lol thank you for sharing it... Happy Pink Weekend...

Hugs;
Alaura

Mary said...

Lynn, you could substitute half-and-half for half the heavy cream.

Karen said...

Smoked salmon is one of my favorite things in the world. Add it to pasta and you're in heaven :)

The Cooking Photographer said...

Ohhhh ooooooo ahhhhh. So heavenly looking, sounding, and tasting I have no doubt. Are you sure you don't have a crew there helping you? I swear you are super woman Mary. I just have no idea how you crank this all out and still live your life!

Maybe you are a vampire and you don't need sleep. ;)

Laura

Susie Jefferson said...

It looks (and sounds) fabulous! I like vodka anyway, and I can see how it would work with pasta without overwhelming it.

Happy Pink Saturday, and Happy New Year!

Foley said...

Mary, this looks and sounds absolutely divine!! I've used a vodka cream sauce on other dishes but this really has piqued my interest!!

Mary said...

Laura, I was born a multi-tasker :-).

dana said...

YOU are amazing! I love your recipes and your photos and your sweet stories! However, I am not a smoked salmon fan, but I would totally gobble up every other ingredient in that yummy dish...then toast you with a sip of vodka left i the bottle! :)

OOOOOO, those cinnamon rolls (previous post) sound awesome, too!

Happy Pink Sat. and thank you for such a great blog! Dana

g said...

Oh, that looks and sounds delicious. And it's perfect for Pink Saturday!

What a lovely and touching memory of your friend. It makes me even more eager to try the sauce.

Have a lovely one!

Kathy said...

What a beautiful story and a great recipe, Mary.

Happy Pink Saturday...have a beautiful weekend...Kathy

Bernideen said...

Myfirst visit to your blog - it is WONDERFUL!

Gabriela said...

Happy Pink Saturday!


Love this fabulous recipe! Thanks!



~ Gabriela ~

Bobbi Jo said...

That looks so yummy! I bet it smells Heavenly! Happy Pink Saturday. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

Hello Mary, I had to stop over and see what you are up to. Busy, busy I see. I am going to use your vodka cream sauce recipe tomorrow for a luncheon for friends. I will be stuffing mannicoti with roccota ( I see I must have too many n's or c's but that is neither here or there) and using your sauce and shrimp to top it all off. I'll try to remember to take pictures but you know how that goes when the food is on the table. Thank you my friend.
~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

A Year on the Grill said...

So many recipes of yours that I want to try... and the rolls worked perfect last night. Thanks for the advice

lk (Healthy Delicious) said...

cant go wrong with smokes salmon! I cant believe it didnt win - it looks amazing!

Sasha said...

This looks great. Salmon goes really well with creamy sauces : )

Claudia said...

It looks delicious. I didn't know the story of its origins - how interesting! Happy Pink Saturday!

Mary said...

Yum, I will definitely try this one soon - looks and sounds delish!! Thanks for sharing.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I never knew the history on vodka sauce, and now I do! I'd love to make this dish for our friends, who don't eat red meat. Perfecto!
It does sound easy, but it looks gorgeous and impressive,

theUngourmet said...

This looks delightful! I've never tasted vodka cream sauce but I can tell from the list of ingredients that it would be an instant favorite! Yum!

DailyChef said...

Wow, this looks amazing. What a perfect blend of ingredients and spices.

Beverly said...

Happy Pink Saturday, Mary.

I have to tell you that I want to get out of my chair right this minute and prepare this. OMG, it sounds like something we would love. And, it seems so easy.

This has to be a winner!!!

♥Mimi♥ said...

I'm a day late and a dollar short with my Pink Saturday visits. The sun was shining too bright yesterday and just like a little kid I couldn't stop marveling at how lovely it was as it beamed through my lace curtains and puddled on the floor. My cats were in heaven.

So, here I am today, a little late but thinking that I got a bonus because I avoided all the traffic!

Lovely blog and the sweetest pinks that you shared. Thank you so much for making this such a lovely Sunday for me.

The Artful Paper Doll said...

Hi Mary,

Oh ma gosh, my mouth is watering over that pasta! Just popped over to wish you a happy pink Saturday!

Cheers! =D
~Kitty Kellie

Allie said...

Sounds lovely! I never thought about adding salmon with ravioli.

mythoughtsmyvoice said...

Oh Mary, even if I have already eaten, still everytime I come by your blog, I get hungry again LOL. I don't know much about food and the technical side of it but that's ok, I sure can eat :-)

Oh congratulations on the new addition to the family. How perfect for Christmas.

Wishing your family a blessed New Year!

Mizpah,
LI

rosechicfriends said...

LOOKS so Yummy! Happy belated PINK Saturday!
Have a great week!
Lorena

Olga said...

omg this looks awesome! I've made pasta with smoked salmon before, but this is so much better!!! and I like anything pink :)

Juno said...

This looks quite delicious. I love the combination of pasta and smoked salmon. Lovely blog.

Jamie said...

Gorgeous list of ingredients. And I have always wanted to make penne with vodka cream sauce but this looks and sounds even yummier! Love the smoked salmon added to the combo. Gorgeous, Mary!

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