Pasta con Fusion

One of my passions is tradition in global cuisines. Holding onto traditional foodways can be very difficult in this day of cross-cultural relationships, easy access to a world of ingredients, television cooking shows, and a 'sky's the limit' approach to culinary creativity.

I am forever grateful to the Julia Childs, Jacques Pépins, and Marcella Hazans of the culinary community for all they - and their colleagues - have done to protect our global culinary heritage.

However, if everything we made was traditional, we would have no new dishes to offer our friends. And there would be no place in this world for the Marcus Samuelssons, Nathan Myhrvolds, Yotam Ottolenghis, or Elizabeth Falkners.

To these modern-day gastronomic da Vincis, I offer my thanks for inspiration to go outside the box and be as creative as possible.

Naturally, I would never dare compare myself to these talented and creative chefs, but I don't do too badly, and no one complains too loudly.

One of the successes I have had in this realm of creative cookery resulted in today's recipe - a fusion dish to say the least. It is one I created originally for neighbors in Maine Chris and Corinna when we had them over for dinner in our garden to celebrate their marriage.

It was the ultimate pull-together of completely unrelated ingredients. Pasta. Smoked salmon. Shallots. Chipotle chiles. Scotch.

Boy, was it good! I kind-of-sort-of wrote down what I did and have been making it ever since. It is one of our all-time favorites, and yet we rarely serve it to our friends. I wonder why?

I am vowing to change that and serve this dish to friends now. Well, at least to the ones who haven't eschewed carbs, dairy, fish, and spicy foods...

I hope you enjoy this pasta con fusion!

~ David

Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon-
Chipotle Cream Sauce

12 ounces dried spaghetti

kosher salt
4 tablespoons butter
2 large shallots, peeled and diced
8 ounces smoked wild salmon, thinly sliced (see notes)
1 teaspoon puréed chipotle chile in adobo
(see notes)
3 tablespoons Scotch
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the pasta and 4 tablespoons salt.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and
sauté the shallot for about 3 minutes, or until clear. Add the salmon and cook 1 minute. Add the puréed chipotle chile and stir to blend. Add the Scotch and wine, then cook until almost all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat until pasta is done.

When pasta is
al dente, scoop out 1 cup of the cooking liquids and reserve. Drain the pasta and add it to the salmon mixture; return skillet to medium-high heat and add cream. When hot, add reserved pasta water as needed to keep the pasta from getting too sticky.

Divide among 4 heated pasta plates and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.


• I got my smoked salmon at the Tucson farmers market (St. Philip's Plaza) on Sundays. Randy - of White Cane Sockeye Salmon (because he is legally blind) - brings down great salmon from the Pacific Northwest. If you live in Tucson, Randy and his son, Ian, run a great operation. They are out of the smoked for a while, but you can email them at wcsockeye@yahoo.com to check on availability.
• If you cannot find smoked wild salmon, lox is a good substitute. 
• I buy a can of chipotle chiles and purée the entire can with the adobo sauce, then keep it in a glass jar in the refrigerator. It is great to have on hand for flavoring all variety of dishes.


  1. David-
    James Beard suggests something very similar (minus the chipotles)in "Beard on Pasta." Great minds, etc...
    Hope you are well!

  2. Thanks, James! I have never before been likened to someone as great as James Beard! I will have to check it out!

  3. Mmm.. this is amazing. Even though I don´t like fish, the rest of the sauce, especially the scotch (of course!) sounds delectable! I can imagine adding pulled pork or barbecued chicken instead. I eat so much pasta, I have a feeling I will start using this recipe.

  4. Paula - I had a friend email me last evening and ask for substitutions for the salmon. I didn't think of it until this morning, but smoked duck would be amazing. I like your pork idea, too. Let me know!

  5. David - impeccable photography as per usual (the shallot reminds me of half of a skinned frog - the leg section - for some reason!). And I love the name of the dish: "Pasta con Fusion". Double entendre :) I'll definitely be trying that chilli, wine and cream sauce. Sounds delicious. Genius!

  6. Laura - I can totally see the frog's leg , now that you mention it - too funny! Sometimes, the titles can be the most fun part of the post for me - I was lucky with this one! (Thanks for noticing!)

  7. Our type of pasta!! Looks awesome!

  8. You are amazingly creative. Having seen you work in the kitchen, I know you know your ingredients and how they work together AND that you have a certain (well-deserved) confidence that, in combination with your creativeness, leads to dishes like this. Pasta con Fusion looks delicious and I, like readers above, also love the title!

  9. Mr. & Mrs. P - thanks! It's like a cocktail on a plate!

    Thanks, Susan - I really think you need to give this pasta a try! I appreciate your kind words about creativity – I am lucky to have an abundant number of spices, herbs and flavorings to play with!

  10. The title of this made me laugh, and then when I read it, it was as though you'd seen a list of all my favourite foods and thrown them together in the pan. Pasta! Smoked salmon! Chipotle! Whisky! Sounds amazing, I will have to pluck up the courage to try it...

  11. Ruth - I thought of you when I wrote this, wondering if, being Scottish, you would not like the use of Scotch in pasta! Thanks for answering my question! I bet you get really good smoked salmon there, too! Where to you find your chipotles?

  12. I think this combination of flavors is brilliant. I would order this again and again.

  13. Thanks, Valentina! Looking at it again today makes me want to for dinner again tonight! Maybe I should have breakfast now, so I won't be seeking pasta at this hour...

  14. Well I've go to say, the flavours here really work. Even if I can't taste them. I'm intrigued by the use of whiskey!

  15. Thanks, John - sometimes when you use things you have on hand, you get little miracles. Sometimes not. I was lucky this time!

  16. We do smoked salmon pasta quite regularly, D.
    Shawn smokes salmon for us and it is
    tasty, but your version w the shallots, chipotle and whiskey....that is so different. I can't wait to try it. xo

  17. Hmmmm... how do we work out a deal to get some of Shane's smoked salmon? :) Thanks, Colette - I think you might like this version.


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