This recipe is so simple but you’ll think it was made in your favorite Italian restaurant! Salmon pasta with cherry tomatoes, fresh dill and a creamy Parmesan garlic sauce.
I have lots of salmon recipes available on the blog but this might be one of my favorites. Any time I make something and my kids, especially my daughter has three servings, I know I did something right. This is such a simple recipe and perfect for a weeknight dinner, along with some grilled veggies or garlic bread and dinner is done!
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED
- Salmon- Fresh is best if you can get it but frozen will work also, just make sure to have it fully thawed out before beginning. It’s Copper River Salmon season right now so watch for some good deals in your local store.
- Pasta- I used rotini but any small type of pasta will work such as penne, ziti or farfalle.
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Capers- These are tiny unripened buds from the caper bush. You can buy them pickled in jars from the condiment aisle.
- Dill Weed- Fresh dill is a must for this recipe, the flavor is much better than dried which is really a spice and not an herb. It tastes slightly like lemon and goes great with any seafood.
- Heavy Cream
- Parmesan- Grating your own Parmesan will get you more flavor than buying pre-grated, but it’s not a deal breaker. Whichever is easiest for you to find. Pecorino Romano will also work well.
- Garlic- I converted to buying jars of minced garlic a while ago. It’s so much easier with less mess and fuss than peeling cloves.
how to make my creamy salmon pasta
Boil the pasta as per the directions on the pack. drain and set aside.
- Making the salmon
Try and buy a filet of salmon from the head side and not the tail. This means you’ll get more fish and it’ll cook more evenly. Season the salmon and sear in a large non stick oven proof pan along with the tomatoes. Transfer to the oven and finish cooking by roasting. Once the salmon is cooked, you’ll just need to roughly break it up and fold through the pasta.
- Make the sauce
While the salmon is cooking, bring the cream to a simmer and then add the garlic and Parmesan. Season with salt and black pepper
- Serving the pasta
After combining the salmon, tomatoes and pasta to the cream sauce, finish with some extra fresh dill, capers and more Parmesan cheese on top.
FAQ’s about salmon and how to cook it
Salmon like most fish cooks quickly and even benefits from being a little bit undercooked. There are many ways to cook salmon but roasting in the oven or a pan is probably the most common method in most home kitchens. When salmon is fully cooked it flakes easily with a fork, but how can you test this way without ruining the way your fish looks? The ideal temperature it needs to be is 145 degrees at the thickest part. I also like to use the same test I use for baking and that is by pressing down gently on the salmon with my fingertip. If the salmon springs back and feels firm, then it’s ready. If it’s not ready, it’ll feel soft and won’t spring back when pressed.
I prefer to sear my salmon and then finish it off in a very hot oven. This creates a nice outer crust and seals all of the flavor and juice inside. This cast iron pan salmon is one of my most popular recipes on Foodness Gracious. You can also poach salmon which is a much slower method but helps the fish remain soft and packed with the flavors of the poaching liquid. Grilled salmon, salmon burgers and salmon sushi are all other amazing ways to try it!
Salmon can take almost any flavor and still taste amazing. It holds up well with spicy flavors as well as citrus and fresh herbs. I recently made this fantastic maple glazed salmon and it was a huge hit with the family.
I always like to keep the skin on until it’s fully cooked and then take it off before serving it or sometimes I serve it with the skin. The skin helps keep the fish together as it cooks and provides a good barrier between the fish and the hot pan. It’s also healthy and adds extra flavor to the fish. The skin is edible and is loaded with omega 3 and iron.
more salmon recipes
Salmon Pasta in a Creamy Parmesan Sauce
- 3 cups dried rotini pasta
- 1 1/2 pounds salmon filet with skin on
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 1/2 tbsp capers
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
For the sauce
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups grated Parmesan plus extra for garnish
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- salt and black pepper
- Bring a pot of water to a full boil and cook the pasta as directed on the package, drain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Season the salmon with salt and black pepper.
- Add the olive oil to a large non stick oven safe pan and bring to a high heat.
- Place the samon into the pan skin side facing up and sear for 2 minutes. Flip the salmon over onto its skin side.
- Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan with the salmon and place in the oven for about 10 minutes or until it feels firm at the thickest part and the tomatoes have softened and are blistered.
- Take the salmon from the oven and cover with foil, and make the sauce.
- Bring the cream to a simmer and add the cheese and garlic.
- Continue simmering for a few minutes or until the cream begins to thicken slightly.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
- Add the pasta to the cream sauce and gently fold through.
- Roughly break up the salmon and fold through the creamy pasta.
- Add the capers and fresh chopped dill to the salmon.
- Serve at once with extra Parmesan on top.