This quick and easy salmon pasta recipe uses ground salmon burger, but the same amount of skinless salmon fillet, cut into small pieces, will work nicely. It is equally great for a weeknight supper as it is for an elegant dinner party and doubles easily for 6 servings. You can build the sauce directly in the pasta pot if you don’t have a gigantic skillet. (Who does?)
- 8 ounces farfalle or other pasta shape
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- ½ pound salmon burger
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup heavy cream or half and half
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or dill
COOK THE PASTA
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, 10 to 15 minutes depending on the shape. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Set both aside separately.
COOK THE SAUCE
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the salmon burger and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the cream, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
FINISH AND SERVE
Add the reserved pasta, spinach, and lemon zest, and cook, stirring, until the spinach is nearly wilted. Stir in the lemon juice and the ½ cup reserved pasta cooking water until the sauce is loosened and evenly combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper then transfer to shallow bowls. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve right away.
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Pair it Up
A rich white wine, like a lightly oaked chardonnay or a Northern Italian white, plays well with the richness of the cream while providing welcome acidity.
Spice it Up
Stir in a bit of Calabrian chili paste at the end for a warming hit of spice.
Change it Up
Rewarm leftovers gently, adding a few tablespoons of water to loosen as needed. Flaked leftover salmon is a great alternative to the salmon burger, just stir it in at the end to avoid overcooking.
Lighten it Up
Beautiful looking, this dish also contains several nutrients that promote beautiful skin. Antioxidant-rich spinach is loaded with vitamin A, which is known to renew and repair skin damage, and vitamin C, which supports collagen production in the skin.
Know Your Cook
Culinary Director Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.
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