This easy pasta with salmon in a light lemon cream sauce works great for a quick weeknight dinner. Use leftover salmon to make meal prep even easier.
Don’t you love it when you go out in search of something and then you discover you had it all along? That is what happened with this recipe.
A few weeks ago I had some leftover salmon in the fridge that really needed to be eaten before it spoiled. I had roasted a large fillet earlier in the week for dinner and we had only eaten half of it. The other half was taunting me – challenging me to do something good with it. We had already had several healthy meals that week so I was ready for something more indulgent. I wanted pasta!
I went on-line in search of recipes for pasta with salmon. However, everything I found called for at least 2 cups of cream and lots of butter. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a good cream sauce just as much as the next girl but swim suit season is coming soon and I was not feeling THAT indulgent.
I was about to give up on the endeavor when I remembered that I had a great recipe for shrimp and angel hair pasta in a light cream sauce. Why not replace the shrimp with the salmon and the angel hair with pappardelle to soak up the sauce? With only 1/4 cup cream, I knew I had a winner.
Indulgence without the guilt – gotta love it.
Tips for making lemon pasta with salmon
- Use heavy cream. Although this is a heathly-ish pasta recipe, it is not without some cream. Using the full fat version (it’s only a 1/4 cup) will help the sauce thicken and prevent it from separating.
- Reduce the heat before adding the cream. The sauce should not be at an active simmer when the cream is added. Otherwise, the sauce may separate. Once the cream has been added, use a whisk to stir it in.
- Drain but don’t rinse the pasta. The starch on the pasta will help to thicken the sauce.
- Use freshly grated parmesan cheese. Pre-grated cheese is usually coated in something to prevent clumping (like cellulose powder) which will keep the cheese from melting smoothly.
- 1 pound salmon fillet
- Salt and pepper
- 8–9 ounces pappardelle pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Season salmon fillet with salt and pepper and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast salmon in oven for 15-20 minutes or until salmon is cooked through.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain (but do not rinse).
- Wipe out the cooking pot with a paper towel and add the olive oil. Heat oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add lemon juice and broth; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, whisk in cream, stirring to combine. Add in cheese and lemon zest; cook about 3 minutes to heat through but do not boil; taste and season with salt.
- Add pasta to cream mixture and gently mix to evenly coat noodles. Continue to mix until the sauce thickens slightly and clings to pasta. Break the salmon into large chunks and gently stir into the pasta mixture.
- You can use left over roasted salmon if you have it. Skip the roasting step (obviously). You can either warm the salmon chunks in the microwave before adding it to the pasta and cream mixture or you can gently warm the salmon chunks in the hot cream sauce before adding in the pasta. Either way, just be gentle with the cooked salmon.
- Do not rinse the pasta when you drain it. The starch on the pasta helps to thicken the sauce.
- Use freshly grated parmesan cheese rather than pre-grated. Pre-grated cheese is usually coated in something to prevent clumping (like cellulose powder) which will keep the cheese from melting smoothly.
Keywords: salmon pasta, salmon lemon pasta, salmon, pasta