Swimming in creamy flavor.
An elegant and easy 15-minute dinner, this smoked salmon pasta recipe comes straight from Italy to your kitchen.
Until recently, I thought the only thing you could do with smoked salmon was pile thin slices atop a bagel with cream cheese. Was I wrong.
Pasta may not sound as natural with smoked salmon as a bagel, but it is no less delicious. Creamy smoked salmon pasta is 15-minute (yes) dinner that tastes amazing: salty, satisfying, and brightened with lemon and chives.
How to Make This Salmon Pasta
Buying smoked salmon used to mean using some of it once on a delicious weekend bagel, then letting the rest of the package languish in the refrigerator until I remembered (too late) that I was supposed to use it within a few days after opening. Now I cook this.
I adapted this recipe from a simple pasta dish in The Silver Spoon cookbook. The Silver Spoon is to Italy as The Joy of Cooking is to America: a necessary Bible of home cookery. This recipe involves little more than boiling pasta and adding it to a pan of smoked salmon pieces that have been simmering in a pan of butter and cream.
Smoked salmon is actually a not-unpopular Italian food. Smoked salmon was — and remains — an effective a way of preserving fresh seafood, enjoyed even by the ancient Romans and Greeks.
Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta: Recipe Notes
Pasta choice. A creamy pasta wants a long, flat noodle. Pasta shapes like linguine, fettuccini, tagiatelle, or other ribbon pasta envelops the sauce just so. Often, when the pasta topping is chunky, you would want a chunky pasta. But here, the smoked salmon pieces are small enough to work with a long pasta.
Check the salt. Different brands and types of smoked salmon (lox, nova, and so on) differ in sodium content, but all do have a lot of salt. Thus, this recipe does not call for added salt — you are also boiling the pasta in salted water — but check for seasoning anyway.
Scallions also work really well here. Just like with salmon cream cheese, scallion and smoked salmon make a great flavor combination, with the fresh, mellow allium sharpness of scallions working as a great counterpoint to the salty salmon. I use chives here because they give the dish a great presentation and taste more mild, but scallions are a fine alternative.
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You’ll also like these easy, classy Italian recipes:
Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta
- 1 pound long, flat pasta, such linguine, fettuccini, or tagliatelle
- 6 ounces smoked salmon, cut into pieces
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons minced chives (can substitute 2 tablespoons thinly-sliced scallions)
- kosher salt
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until just shy of al dente. Drain, reserving some pasta water.
- While the water is boiling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the salmon, lemon juice, half of the lemon zest, and half of the chives. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cream and cook over low heat (the cream should be at a simmer) for about 5 minutes.
- Add the drained pasta to the cream mixture. Cook for a few minutes, tossing to coat. Taste for seasoning. If the pasta looks a little dry, add pasta water a tablespoon or two at a time until it is creamy enough.
- Serve immediately, topped with the remaining chives and lemon zest.