Pasta alla Salmone is a delightful creamy fusion of the tender, buttery appeal of the salmon and delicious pasta, enriched with the magic of fresh basil.
This gorgeous combination of al dente pasta, succulent salmon, and a velvety sauce with fresh basil is a perfect blend of land and sea flavors that will certainly make an impression at your dinner table. The simplicity of the recipe does not take away from its taste, as it is so remarkable that it could easily be the highlight of your evening.
Join us in the kitchen and be ready to impress your loved ones with an unforgettable and extraordinary dinner masterpiece that will surely be calling for more.
- Pasta alla salmone – the blessed couple of the land and the sea
- Why you’ll love it
- Ingredients you’ll need for pasta alla salmone
- Pasta alla salmone easy recipe
- Tips for a perfect pasta alla salmone
- Storage and reheating
- Pasta alla salmone FAQs
- Food Nutter’s favorites
Pasta alla salmone – the blessed couple of the land and the sea
Salmon is gaining more and more popularity as an ingredient in Italian cuisine. Its versatility allows it to be smoked, grilled, baked, or become part of a pasta dish such as pasta alla salmone. As Italy is already known for its flavorful dishes, salmon is enhancing its reputation even further. It is forecasted that imports of salmon to Italy will total 57.68 million kilograms by 2026.
Did you know? Salmon are astonishing jumpers. They can jump even over 3.5 m (12 ft) high, which is way higher than the highest world record for a jumping human. This allows them to cross waterfalls and rocks during their migration upstream.
The pasta was already widespread in Italy before the famous explorer Marco Polo brought the noodles back from China in the 13th century.
The tenderness of the salmon, combined with a creamy sauce and fresh basil together with a good pasta is truly something incredible. It goes together so perfectly that it just melts in your mouth like magic and feels like having lunch in a dreamland.
Why you’ll love it
- Because of its unforgettable taste. It’s a delightful blend of tastes and textures; the salmon’s natural sweetness and delicate aroma combined with a creamy sauce and the smell of fresh basil is a combination that you’ll remember for more.
- When made with healthy, homemade pasta, it becomes a rich meal full of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- It’s easy to prepare and takes less than an hour to make.
- You can prepare the sauce in advance and serve an extraordinary dinner whenever you need it.
Ingredients you’ll need for pasta alla salmone
PASTA – If possible, choose quality pasta with a high content of eggs. Eggs can significantly affect the texture and flavor of the pasta. Avoid pasta that contains added preservatives or artificial additives.
Basically, any kind of pasta you’ll buy will do the job, but if you really want it to taste more than perfect, take the time and make your own pasta instead.
SALMON FILLETS – Salmon fillets should look fresh, firm and of vibrant color. They should have no odor.
For the best nutrition and quality, opt for salmon that is labeled with its origin. Some parts of the world, for example Alaska and Norway, are famous for their excellent salmon. Select salmon that is endorsed by a well-respected seafood sustainability body, which usually guarantees that the fish is obtained responsibly.
You can make pasta alla salmone with smoked, canned, or fresh wild salmon. For pasta dishes, fresh wild salmon filets can give a tastier result, while smoked and canned salmon works better for a pasta salad.
FRESH BASIL – The addition of fresh basil will impart a unique depth and vibrancy to the dish. The flavor and aroma of the herb will blend harmoniously with the creamy sauce and salmon.
COOKING CREAM – We find adding heavy cream (with high-fat content of around 36% or higher) works best for this sauce. However, if you are worried about the fat, you can alternatively use half-and-half cream with approximately 10-12% content fat.
GOOD MELTING CHEESE – The recipe called for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese singles due to their rapid melting ability. If desired, you can substitute the singles with something else and combine it with extra parmesan cheese when making the sauce.
OLIVE OIL – Adding cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil to a sauce can not only boost the taste of the meal but also supplies essential monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. You will also use the oil to cook your salmon.
A SMALL ONION – Onions contribute to the sauce’s flavor and dimension, making it taste more pleasant and full-bodied. If you can get ahold of it, a shallot would be an even better choice than an onion.
GARLIC – Garlic is added to the creamy sauce to provide a pungent and aromatic flavor. We suggest using two to three cloves, as having too much garlic could overpower the flavor of the sauce and salmon.
WHITE WINE – A glass of white wine will add another note of flavor to the sauce.
SALT AND BLACK PEPPER – Besides fresh basil this dish doesn’t call for any extra seasoning except salt and black pepper. A sprinkle of ROSEMARY on the salmon filets before baking will add some freshness and will combine well with the basil.
Pasta alla salmone easy recipe
COOK THE SALMON ( IN THE OVEN)
STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 375 F (190,556 C).
STEP 2: Gently clean the salmon filets and dry them with a clean paper towel. Do not wash them. Cover with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Add a little bit of dried rosemary.
If you don’t want to use parchment paper, the best way to bake the salmon filets is to brush on some olive oil on the baking sheet and lay the filets down with the skin side facing downwards.
STEP 3: Bake in the oven at 375 F (190 C) for about 15-20 minutes.
PREPARE THE SAUCE
STEP 4: Whilst the salmon is in the oven, you can start to make the sauce and boil the pasta. Begin by mincing the onion and garlic into tiny pieces.
STEP 5: Fry them in hot olive oil on low heat and often stir until the onions and the garlic become golden yellow, soft and translucent.
STEP 6: Add the cream and half cup of wine to the onions and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for five to ten minutes until the alcohol has cooked off.
It’s best to simply taste the sauce to make sure the alcohol has evaporated, and the sauce has reached the desired flavor.
STEP 7: Mix in the cheese and keep stirring until it is completely blended into the sauce. Cook for a further two to three minutes and set aside.
STEP 8: Once you have completed the sauce, take a few leaves of fresh basil and mince them before adding them to the sauce. Incorporating the basil as close to serving it will guarantee the best flavor.
COOK THE PASTA
STEP 9: Fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, put in the pasta and cook it as per the instructions on the package for between 6 and 10 minutes.
Grab a piece of pasta with a fork and check to see if it is done. Be careful not to overcook it; it should only be cooked al dente.
PASTA ALLA SALMONE SERVED
STEP 10: Once the salmon filets are done cooking, it’s time to take them out of the oven and break them apart with a fork. If you’d like, squeeze some lemon juice on them while they’re still hot for extra flavor.
STEP 11: Once the pasta is cooked, pour off the water and keep the dish covered to preserve the heat. It is recommended to eat the pasta straight after boiling. If the pasta is allowed to cool and drain, the starch molecules on the outside can take on moisture, causing the pasta to clump together.
STEP 12: Place the pasta on the plates and generously spoon with the sauce that you just combined with the chopped basil. Add slices of freshly baked salmon and garnish with basil leaves. Serve the delightful meal straight away while it’s still warm. Enjoy!
Tips for a perfect pasta alla salmone
- Wild salmon will taste incomparably better than the farmed ones. It has a better taste and texture and is packed with more nutrients as well. Quality salmon filets look pink and marbled. King salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), silver salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) are regarded to be the finest types of salmon.
- Don’t wash the salmon with water; before baking dry it with a paper towel.
- Cook the salmon with the skin on; it’s easier to remove it when the salmon is cooked. At the same time, it will prevent the meat from getting burned on the bottom and help it to retain more juice.
- Add the salt and other seasoning to the filets right before baking.
- Use fresh basil and add it to the sauce right before serving.
- Pasta alla salmone tastes best with quality, fresh homemade pasta. Don’t overcook the pasta (al dente is enough); serve it right after it’s cooked.
Storage and reheating
Although we don’t recommend reheating pasta, you can store the leftover pasta alla salmone in the refrigerator for up to a day or two, ensuring that it’s stored in an airtight container.
It’s best to serve pasta alla salmone with freshly cooked pasta, while you can prepare the sauce in advance.
Baked salmon (as well as the creamy sauce) can last in the fridge for up to three or four days. Add fresh basil to the hot sauce right before serving.
Although freezing pasta alla salmone is not recommendable, cooked salmon and its sauce can be kept in the freezer for up to 4-5 months in a tightly sealed container or bag, as long as it is stored properly.
Keep in mind that the taste and quality of the thawed salmon won’t be equal to that of salmon that has been freshly cooked.
It is recommended to store fresh salmon in the freezer for up to nine months. When you are ready to eat the salmon, it should be thawed in the refrigerator overnight for best results.
Pasta alla salmone FAQs
Even if the dish is more nutritious when made with fresh salmon filets, you can still make a decent pasta alla salmone with canned salmon when you don’t have much time to cook.
Pasta alla salmone can be made with a creamy sauce and smoked salmon as well. However, smoked salmon and pasta will taste better when prepared as a pasta salad with fresh vegetables.
Dried basil contains a more delicate flavor than its fresh counterpart; it loses some of its intensity when it’s dried. It has a somewhat more earthy and sweeter taste, lacking the peppery and lively notes of fresh basil. It’s a great choice for recipes that require long cooking, allowing the flavors to combine and evolve. For pasta alla salmone recipe, fresh basil is a much better choice.
Yes, you have the option to mix and match different types of pasta with pasta alla salmone – some of the most recommended types include tagliatelle, fettuccine, linguine, penne, farfale and rigatoni. Additionally, salmon also pairs well with a creamy sauce and fresh homemade gnocchi.
Yes, heavy cream in this recipe can be replaced by a much lighter half-and-half cream, sour cream, cashew cream or cream cheese.
Yes, vegetables can be added to pasta alla salmone, but because the sauce is very quickly cooked, you will need to cook them separately. Vegetables that go well with salmon and pasta include peas, broccoli, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, spinach and… more fresh basil!
Pasta alla salmone is the tastiest when served with a fresh salad.
Pasta alla salmone goes well with rose and white wines, including Pinot, Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Sauvignon Blanc and Champagne. You can use the same wine for preparing the creamy sauce.
When you rinse raw salmon filets with water, it can actually increase the chance of bacterial contamination. The potential bacteria on the surface of the fish can spread to other surfaces, like your kitchen sink, dishes, and countertops.
It is not necessary to clean the salmon prior to cooking. The high temperatures used during the cooking process will kill any bacteria that may be present. Washing the salmon can alter its taste and texture as it can remove some of its natural oils and flavors. Therefore, it is better to cook salmon without having to rinse it first.
Salmon’s hue of pink is derived from the naturally occurring pigment astaxanthin. This compound is absorbed through their diet, primarily from krill and shrimp. Astaxanthin is an antioxidant and helps keep the fish in good condition. The shade of pink may differ depending on the species, what they eat, and if they are wild caught or bred on a farm. Salmon raised in captivity tend to have a paler pink shade as a result of their diet.
Absolutely! Eating the skin of your salmon is not only safe, but it also adds a delicious crunch as well as extra flavor to the fish. Additionally, the skin contains beneficial fats that can help to make your lunch even more nutritious. When cooked correctly, the skin should be crisp and provide an enjoyable contrast to the succulent flesh of the salmon.
The cost of salmon can be largely explained by its surging popularity, the dwindling availability of wild-caught fish, the expense of aquaculture, and additional expenses related to transportation, processing, and handling. Higher-grade salmon sourced sustainably typically carries a greater price tag due to the extra care given to fish stocks.
At the outset, cheese has the potential to overpower the subtle flavors of fish, thus diminishing its inherent flavor. Furthermore, combining cheese and fish is not a customary practice in Italian cuisine. Italians value bringing out the natural taste of the fish without adding anything extra; moreover, they stick to simple recipes that respect the ingredients. Therefore, when it comes to fish dishes, cheese is generally not used in order to maintain the focus on the fish’s taste.
Wild salmon is notable for its high omega-3 fatty acid and astaxanthin content, a powerful antioxidant. Additionally, it may contain a lower level of pollutants as well. On the other hand, farmed salmon provides a more reliable source of availability and is usually richer in vitamin D. The farming process also provides a more controlled environment with particular feeding habits. Ultimately, both varieties of salmon are highly nutritious, but the nutritional levels between wild and farmed salmon may differ.
The flavor of wild salmon is typically stronger, with an earthy, salty taste. In contrast, farmed salmon is usually more delicate and buttery. The taste of farmed salmon may differ depending on the type of species, what it eats, and the environment in which it is raised.
More Mediterranean food
Pasta alla salmone
- 0,66 lb pasta (300 g)
- 1,1 lb salmon filets (500 g)
- 1 small onion or shallot
- 3 cloves garlic
- handful fresh basil
- 1 cup heavy cooking cream
- 3/4 cup white wine (200 ml)
- 3 or 4 parmesan cheese singles
- 3 tsp olive oil (44 ml)
- salt & black pepper
- dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional) (14,8 ml)
- Preheat the oven to 375 F (190,556 C).
- Gently dry the salmon filets with paper towel. Do not wash them. Cover with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt, black pepper, and dried rosemary.
- Coat your baking sheet with olive oil and place the salmon filets skin-side down.
- Bake in the oven at 375 F (190 C) for about 15-20 minutes.
- In the meanwhile prepare the sauce. Dice the onion (or shallot) and garlic to pieces as small as possible. Fry them hot olive oil on low heat until the onions and the garlic turn golden yellow, soft and translucent.
- Add the cream and wine, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for around 5-10 minutes on low heat until the alcohol has dissipated. Taste to make sure everything is as it should be.
- Add the cheese and let is fully fuse into the sauce. Stir frequently and cook for another two to three minutes. Set aside.
- Prepare some freshly chopped basil which will be added to the sauce shortly before it is served.
- Fill a cooking pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling add pasta and cook for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the instructions on the package. Test a piece of pasta with a fork to make sure it's cooked al dente.
- Remove the cooked salmon fillets from the oven and using a fork, break them into small pieces. If desired, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over them while they are still warm.
- Once the pasta is done cooking, strain the liquid. Place the pasta on the plates and top with very hot sauce, containing freshly chopped basil that you've added to the saucepan right before serving. Serve the salmon pieces on top, decorated with few basil leaves.
- Opt for fresh salmon filets when cooking for maximum flavor and health benefits. Wild salmon is the ideal choice for a delicious pasta alla salmone.
- If possible, use cold-pressed organic olive oil.
- Before cooking, dry the filets with a paper towel. Avoid washing them.
- Sprinkle the salt, black pepper and dry rosemary on the filets right before cooking.
- Cook the salmon together with the skin; the skin should be placed on the bottom.
- Dice the onion and the garlic into pieces as small as possible and fry on low heat.
- Don’t overboil the pasta; it’s best when cooked al dente.
- Add fresh basil to the sauce right before serving.
- Don’t freeze the pasta; it’s best if you prepare only the sauce in advance. Serve with fresh cooked salmon, pasta and fresh basil.
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