THE Recipe with Mala Kuhna: Black tagliatelle, asparagus and smoked salmon


In addition to different kinds of pizzas, Italian cuisine is mostly known for its various pasta dishes. But even though pasta is undeniably connected with Italy, you can quickly come across a claim that not all pasta dishes are suitable to be labeled as Italian. 

One of these dishes is definitely spaghetti carbonara or. pasta alla carbonara. Don’t get me wrong – spaghetti carbonara is definitely as Italian as for example roasted or “restan” potatoes are Slovenian. Well, now imagine making this traditional Slovenian dish with sweet potatoes. So, in that spirit, I could say that I fully understand everybody who stresses about putting any sort of cream in any kind of pasta. 

But this dilemma with cream is not related to the preparation of pasta just to preserve the tradition. Many people use too much cream in their pasta dishes and that will a lot of times cover up the flavors and in the end all you will taste is cream. But what are the alternatives?

The secret to making creamy, juicy, and tasty pasta lies in the starch that stays in the water while cooking the pasta.

To make the process easier to explain, I will describe it on the example of today’s dish. Black tagliatelle with asparagus and smoked salmon. 

Cook the pasta in salted water so that it is cooked almost al dente or rather slightly undercooked. Fry the fresh asparagus briefly in butter and add the pasta. Then pour in some of the water in which you cooked the pasta. Cook everything on high temperature so that the water starts to boil down and starch thickens. Gradually add more water and reduce to the point of wanted consistency. If still to dry, add some more cooking water and reduce it. You can repeat the process until the pasta is cooked al dente. Finally, add some smoked salmon.

Cooking pasta in such a way will ensure the dish will be creamy, but all the flavors will still be present. Also, it’s much healthier! 

I am aware that the procedure described above probably seems too complicated to many, but nothing to worry about. After two or three attempts, you will become a real expert in this, and if you use homemade pasta, the process will be even easier, and success is guaranteed!


  • Flour
  • An egg
  • Squid ink
  • Salt
  • Asparagus
  • Butter
  • Smoked salmon


  • Prepare pasta in a ratio of 100g of flour to 1 large egg and a pinch of salt. If the dough is too dry add some water. We also added some squid ink, as this gives the pasta an amazing colour as well as some “sea” flavour. After you knead it well, wrap it in foil and leave the dough in the fridge for at least an hour. 
  • Cook the pasta in salted water. The water should be so salty that it will resemble the sea! Never put oil in the water where you cook pasta. Never discard the water where the pasta was cooked, as it will come in handy when thickening or diluting pasta sauce. When the pasta is cooked, never rinse it, because this way you will wash all the starch away and sauces wont stick to it, thus the starchy sauce will be harder to achieve.

For the full process, check out our video.