Fresh salmon and a rich cream sauce make this Pasta Alla Salmone recipe special enough for date night or a dinner party. But this salmon pasta dish is also easy enough for any busy weeknight dinner.
Seafood and pasta is a favorite combo of mine. If you've seen my Lobster Raviolia Sauce pasta recipe, Cajun Shrimp Pasta, or my Lemon Garlic Scallop Pasta recipe, you know how much I love seafood and pasta!
It's an irresistible combination, and now you can savor this delicious combination in my latest seafood pasta recipe: Pasta Alla Salmone - also known simply as Salmon Pasta.
This is a luxurious dish that brings together the richness of salmon and the satisfying texture of pasta. Imagine tender pieces of wild-caught salmon coated in a creamy lemon sauce, briny capers, and fresh herbs, perfectly paired with al dente pasta.
The sauce is a blend of creaminess and tanginess, clings to every strand of pasta, ensuring a consistent taste in every forkful. Topped with fresh herbs, the dish is beautiful to look at as it is to eat.
Whether you make this for a cozy meal at home or a special date night dinner this pasta alla salmone recipe combines the best of both luxury and comfort.
🌟 Why this recipe works
This salmon pasta is a simple recipe that's the perfect balance of flavors. It's truly a delightful meal that seafood lovers and pasta lovers will enjoy for so many reasons.
- Fast - You can whip up this classic Italian pasta dish with fresh ingredients in just 30 minutes.
- Easy - This is a no-fuss, easy recipe that even beginning home cooks can make.
- Delicious - The flavors of the salmon with the creaminess of the sauce, heartiness of the pasta, and brightness of the herbs and capers creates a tasty and harmonious symphony of flavors and textures.
- Versatile - This salmon dish is perfect for an easy weeknight dinner, a fancy meal for a dinner party, or a special date night!
🛒 Ingredient notes
- Salmon - Salmon is the star of the dish! You can use fresh or frozen salmon. If using frozen, be sure to properly thaw the salmon ahead of time. I personally prefer wild caught salmon, as I find that wild salmon has the best flavor. But you can use farm raised salmon as well. Alternatively, you can use smoked salmon and skip the instructions about cooking the salmon.
- Pasta - Fettuccine pasta is the perfect vessel for the creamy sauce to cling to. But you can use linguine pasta, spaghetti, or even short pasta shapes like penne pasta.
- Garlic - Because you can't have seafood pasta without garlic! Use more or less, depending on your personal taste preference.
- Seafood stock - For the best results, use homemade seafood stock from scratch. It almost always has the most flavor. But you can absolutely use store-bought seafood broth or seafood stock instead. You can also use vegetable stock as a substitution.
- Cream - The silky, velvety, tasty cream sauce is from heavy cream. But you can also substitute half and half or while milk. If you're dairy-free like me, substitute coconut cream or coconut milk, or you can use a dairy-free heavy cream instead.
- Lemon - The sauce calls for lemon juice. But I also like to add some fresh lemon zest just before serving.
- Flour - Whisking a little bit of flour into the sauce helps thicken it up. You can substitute arrowroot powder or gluten-free flour if you prefer.
- Parmesan - Grated parmesan cheese helps thicken the sauce and also adds a cheesy, nutty flavor. If you're dairy-free like me, simply substitute your favorite dairy-free grated parmesan alternative.
- Capers - Capers are tiny round, unopened flower buds of the caper bush. You can find them in small jars usually either next to the pickles or sometimes next to the jarred pasta sauce aisles (next to sundried tomatoes). These add a fresh, bright, briny flavor to the dish. You can leave them out if you wish, but I think they balance the flavors well!
- Parsley - Chopped fresh parsley adds a lovely bright finish to the dish.
- Salt and pepper - season with kosher salt and ground black pepper.
Optional: you can garnish with fresh basil, lemon wedges or lemon slices, and more cheese.
✅ Step-by-step instructions
You'll find the full list of ingredients and detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. But here's a photo step-by-step guide of the cooking process that you can refer to as you make this delicious recipe!
- Start by cooking the pasta in a large pot according to package instructions
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the salmon and cook until the salmon is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Once cooked, transfer the salmon to a plate, chop into small pieces, and set aside.
3. Pour the seafood stock into the skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the butter and garlic and sauté for just 1 minute, until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
5. Pour in the cream and lemon juice, and stir regularly to create the sauce.
6. Add a ladle of hot starchy pasta water if it starts to thicken too quickly.
7. Whisk in the flour and parmesan cheese and continue stirring until the cheese has melted and flour is dissolved into the sauce, which should be thicker now.
8. Add the pasta to the skillet and coat with the sauce.
9. Add back the salmon pieces and add the capers to the skillet; stir to combine.
Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
Garnish with parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a light sprinkling of extra parmesan cheese just before serving.
👩🏻🍳 Recipe FAQs
Capers offer the best flavor and texture, but you can substitute them in this recipe with chopped green olives or a little extra lemon juice.
Allow the food to cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days.
To reheat: place in a microwave-safe bowl along with a teaspoon or two of water. Microwave in 30-second increments until heated through.
🍽 Serving ideas
Pasta alla salmone is a beautiful, elegant dinner dish for any busy weeknight or special occasion.
Serve it along with any of these side dishes for a tasty, complete meal:
🍷 🥂 Wine pairings
For a perfect pairing with salmon pasta, opt for a crisp and vibrant Chardonnay. An unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay complements the creamy lemon sauce while enhancing the salmon's flavors. Like most white cream sauce Italian dishes, this also pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc.
But pasta al salmone also pairs well with red wine! Consider a light-bodied Pinot Noir. With its red fruit notes and earthy quality, Pinot Noir beautifully balances the dish's richness, creating a harmonious and satisfying culinary experience.
🍝 🍷 Find more pasta and wine pairings in our Best Wine and Pasta pairings guide!
🍳 Kitchen tools and equipment
Ready to make this recipe? Here are the kitchen tools and equipment you'll need:
- Large pot to cook the pasta.
- Strainer to drain the cooked pasta.
- Large skillet or large saucepan and a wooden spoon and/or whisk to cook the sauce.
- Kitchen tongs to transfer the cooked pasta to the skillet and to toss the pasta into the cream sauce.
More seafood pasta recipes
If you love this salmon pasta recipe, be sure to try our other seafood recipes, or any of the seafood pasta recipes below. And if you're craving pasta, we've got a lot of easy pasta recipes to try on the blog, from vegetarian to chicken to beef pastas.
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to leave a 5-Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card, and if you really loved it, please leave a comment further down on the page. Thank you!
Pasta Alla Salmone
- 10 ounces fettuccine
- 1 pound salmon
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup seafood stock or chicken stock or vegetable stock
- ¼ cup lemon juice + more for serving
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese + more for serving
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
- 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, boil water and cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the salmon and cook until the salmon is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Once cooked, transfer the salmon to a plate, chop into pieces, and set aside.
- Pour the seafood stock into the skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan.
- Add the butter and garlic and sauté for just 1 minute, until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
- Pour in the cream and lemon juice, and stir regularly to create the sauce. Add a ladle of hot starchy pasta water if it starts to thicken too quickly.
- Whisk in the flour and parmesan cheese and continue stirring until the cheese has melted and flour is dissolved into the sauce, which should be thicker now.
- Add the pasta to the skillet and coat with the sauce.
- Add back the salmon pieces and add the capers to the skillet; stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a light sprinkling of extra parmesan cheese just before serving.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.