This Creamy Lemon Salmon Pasta is comforting and filling whilst still being fresh and light. With just a few grocery store ingredients you can create such a delicious pasta recipe.
The beauty of this Pasta recipe comes from the natural reaction between heavy cream and lemon juice. Lemon juice naturally thickens the cream without curdling and creates an almost instant creamy lemon sauce for pasta.
There is something elegant about a seafood pasta, and this creamy lemon salmon pasta is no exception. It tastes just like something you would get in a great Italian restaurant. Yet it is so easy to make at home.
The recipe serves 4 but it is easy to half the recipe if you want to serve this for a special date night. Or you can double the recipe if you want to serve this as a quick dinner party dish.
To quickly and easily half or double my recipes, just click on the servings box in the recipe card and you can change the number of servings you require. The recipe card will automatically scale the recipe for you! How great is that!!! (Just be aware that some measurements might look a little odd)
Which salmon to use for Salmon Pasta
This salmon pasta recipe uses 2 salmon fillets for a 4 person serving of pasta. That makes it really economical and a great way to add fish into your diet. I buy skinless salmon fillets as it makes this dish so much easier.
The salmon is cut into cubes and pan-fried in butter and olive oil. We like the ‘meaty’ chunks, but if you have a large fillet you could cook it whole and lightly flake the fish.
Once cooked the salmon is taken out of the pan and given a spritz of lemon juice and a seasoning of black pepper and salt. This really soaks into the fish and seasons it inside and out. Don’t skip this step
The beauty of cooking the salmon separately means you can get a nice crisp edge to it and also cook it to your likely. We like to cook it over high heat to get a light crust on the outside and a soft medium cooked center. But cook for longer if you like your salmon more cooked.
How to make a Creamy Lemon Sauce for Pasta
This sauce uses heavy cream and lemon juice. This is thickened using the natural reaction between heavy cream and lemon juice. When you add lemon juice to cream it will naturally thicken without curdling! Add some black pepper, lemon zest, a little salt and you have an almost instant creamy lemon sauce for pasta.
Ideally, you want to use fresh lemon juice, it will make all the difference to the sauce. Plus the zest adds so much to the dish.
What kind of pasta to use for Salmon Pasta
For this creamy lemon salmon pasta, we like to use spaghetti or linguine, Tagliatelle or Fettuccine would be also be a great choice.
If you prefer a smaller shape then pick a penne or rigatoni.
Whatever shape you choose remember to generously season the pasta water and to reserve a cup of the cooking water before you drain it.
Why reserve pasta cooking water?
Using some of the pasta cooking water helps to make the sauce go further (so no need to add extra cream) but still keeps it thick enough to cling to the pasta. The pasta cooking was is starchy and seasoned! So it is liquid gold. Never just pour it all down the sink. Even if you are cooking someone else’s pasta recipe reserve some of that water and add it to your sauce. The difference is amazing!
You must be sick of me talking about pasta cooking water 😉 I talk about it in pretty much EVERY pasta recipe I have here on Sprinkles and Sprouts….and there are a lot!
Just a few include:
- My Favorite Pasta: Garlic Butter Pasta with Garlic Chicken (I think! This changes weekly!)
- Stew’s Favorite: Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce
- Mr 11’s Favorite: Authentic Spaghetti Bolognese
- Mr 8’s Favorite: Four Cheese Pasta
- Perfect for when you are feeling ill: Pasta with Chicken Broth
- Great for Entertaining: Shrimp Chorizo Pasta
- Something a bit different: Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta
- Also see all 40+ pasta recipes here
Side: The rich salmon and the cream in this sauce means this creamy lemon salmon pasta is the perfect dish for serving with something fresh. We would suggest a parsley salad. Simply mix lettuce leaves with plenty of fresh flat leaf parsley and a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. The addition of some roasted bell peppers would add a nice level of sweetness too.
Alternatively, some steamed asparagus makes a wonderful side.
Wine: Lemon sauces can soften and mellow the wine, leaving your wine tasting bland and insipid. But the cream and rich salmon balance that here meaning you can pair this dish with a crisp white Sémillon or a dry Riesling.
This is also great with a sparkling wine! Prosecco is a great choice or a Californian sparkling.
Or if you are a lover of red wine then throw out the traditions and pair this Salmon pasta with a low-tannin red like a Valpolicella or a light Zinfandel.
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Creamy Lemon Salmon Pasta
- 12 oz spaghetti
For the salmon
- 2 salmon fillets – boned and skinned
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the Sauce
- 2 lemon
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
Start by cooking the pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and then add a generous amount of salt.
- Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.
- Once the pasta has cooked, reserve a cup of the cooking water and drain.
While the pasta is cooking get on with the salmon and sauce.
For the Salmon
- Cut the salmon into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and black pepper.
- Melt the butter and olive oil in a large nonstick pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the salmon and sauté for 2 minutes over high heat until a crust has formed and the salmon is almost cooked.
- Remove the salmon to a warmed plate, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon, add the black pepper, tent it with foil and set aside.
To make the sauce
- Pour the heavy cream into the skillet the salmon was cooked in.
- Add the zest of one lemon and the juice of the remain 1 1/2 lemons.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes until thickened.
- Season with salt.
- Add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water to the sauce and allow to simmer.
- Add in the drained pasta and stir gently to coat the pasta in the sauce.
- Add more cooking water if required.
- Stir in the cooked salmon and serve sprinkled with parsley.