Tagliatelle with salmon, vodka and sour cream

Tagliatelle with salmon, sour cream, vodka and herbs (photo by Tasha Seccombe)

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: (serves 4)

  • 400 g all-purpose flour
  • 4 XL eggs
  • 4 litres boiling salted water
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Ingredients for sauce: (serves 4)

  • 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 (or fresh salmon, cooked and flaked)
  • salt and pepper
  • handful of fresh dill and chives, chopped
  • smoked salmon strips for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add spring onions and garlic, and fry for 2 minutes.
  2. Add vodka, then cook to reduce by  half.
  3. Add sour cream, stock and tomato paste, then stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add salmon and simmer on low heat for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove from heat, then add dill and chives and stir through. Cover and set aside.
  6. To make pasta: in a food processor, combine flour and eggs untill 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.
  7. Return 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.

Tip: If your sour cream is very thick, add more stock to the sauce. If the sour cream is thin, start by adding less stock.


This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.

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  1. Guess what’s on the menu for dinner tonight? This sounds absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to try this! x

    1. SO glad to hear that! Hope you love it! 🙂

  2. I was also crazy about the vodka (bacon and tomato) pasta at that place in Mill Street. You know the owners opened Asta la Pasta in the Black Horse and they still have the vodka pasta on the menu!? 🙂

    1. No ways! I didn’t know Asta la Pasta are the same owners? Then I’ll visit them soon! Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

  3. This is beautiful and sounds so delicious! I love my pasta-maker… homemade pasta is unmatched. I need to make some immediately, for this amazing sauce — Yum!

  4. Hi Isle! So in love with your recipes! Is there a way for me to print out a pdf of them? trying to collect! Oh and please release a cook book!!! Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Hi Hlengi, thanks so much for your message! Unfortunately I don’t have a pdf version/function yet, but you should be able to copy and paste the recipes onto a Word doc in the meantime. Most of the recipes I do with The Pretty Blog (www.theprettyblog.com) have fabulous recipe cards attached, that you can download and print, so go check it out on their website! Click on the link at the bottom of this post, where The Pretty Blog is credited. It will take you directly to the same recipe on their site.
      PS: I would LOVE to do a recipe book, so I’ll keep you in the loop about it! Maybe within the next 2 years! Thanks so much for your kind words and your support. xx

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