When I lived in Columbus, Ohio, one of my favorite restaurants was Rigsbys in the Short North neighborhood. The deliciously inventive food created by Kent Rigsby and his team was the best in the city, and one of their dishes, a farfalle pasta with smoked salmon, red onion and capers in a creamy sauce is still one of my favorite pastas of all time.
I love trying new things, and attempting to dissect the ingredient list and recreate the dish at home. My sister, her friend P.R. and I tried recreating this dish together a few times when I still lived there. P.R. finally got the recipe down and shared it with us, and I have been making this hometown dish here in NYC for family and friends for 22 years now. It is easy, delicious, elegant, and addictive, with protein loaded smoked salmon, heart healthy onions and that forever comfort food—pasta (in a creamy sauce, no less!). It makes both the health and comfort foods list. It is great as an appetizer portion and elegant as a main dish meal. With a green salad and crusty bread, you have a dinner party!
So, with gratitude to Kent Rigsby and his wonderful restaurant for creating this dish (and so many great memories of dinner at Rigsby's in my Columbus years!), I offer our inspired version of his Farfalle with Smoked Salmon.
1 lb. farfalle, cooked al dente according to package instructions (you can substitute your favorite pasta cut as well—I prefer farfalle)
2 tbsp. butter
1 large red onion, sliced thin
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tbsps. capers
3 tbsps. vodka (I just use a shotglass and add a shot)
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
fresh ground black pepper
3-4 slices smoked salmon, julienned
In a skillet, melt butter and sauté red onion for about 5-7 minutes, until they start to soften slightly. Add vodka and stir, then add chicken stock, capers and pepper, and allow sauce to reduce by about half. Add heavy cream and mix sauce together well.
Toss freshly cooked pasta with sauce and smoked salmon. Serve.