Fresh Tagliatelli Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Shaved Asparagus in a Saffron Tarragon Cream Sauce with Salmon Roe


  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon saffron 
  • 1/4 cup soffritto
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons (1/2 cup)
  • 2 ounces shaved asparagus
  • 4 ounces salmon caviar
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a large pinch of salt.

  2. Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the eggs. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). The dough will come together in a shaggy mass when about half of the flour is incorporated.

  3. Start kneading the dough with both hands, primarily using the palms of your hands. Add more flour, in 1/2-cup increments, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any left over dry bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. Roll and form as desired.

    Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe, they are essential for a light pasta.

  4. Add the tagliatelle and cook until al dente. Add the asparagus for the remaining 2 minutes.

  5. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water and start shaving the asparagus.

  6. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the minced shallot and cook over moderately low heat for 2 minutes, stirring. Add soffritto, saffron, parsley, and tarragon.

  7. Add the creme frache, heavy cream, and fold in grated parmesan cheese.

  8. Stir in about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and season with pepper. Add the pasta and smoked salmon ribbons and shaved asparagus and toss well. Add up to 2 more tablespoons of the reserved cooking water if the pasta seems too dry. Remove from the heat. Add three-fourths of the caviar and toss gently. Serve in shallow bowls, garnished with the remaining caviar.