I think we can all agree that dinner should be simple, right? But also delicious. And every now and then, you want to treat yourself and your loved ones to something fancy. My salmon pasta with spicy cream sauce is the ultimate flex because it's all that and more in just about 30 minutes. Easy baked salmon, cooked bowtie pasta and a magical, flavorful sauce. The fact that it all comes together easily makes this my favorite fancy salmon recipe with sauce. Let's get into it!
By the way, you won't need any special tools to make this recipe. Here are my kitchen must-haves.
Valentine's Day is around the corner and this is actually a great date night dinner for two recipe! You'll even have some leftover for the next day or enough to feed little ones, should you have any lying around. This 30-minute salmon meal is simple enough to put together at home and elevated enough to impress your boo. The easy cream sauce is perfect for for salmon has fresh lemon, white wine, Parmesan cheese and plenty of spice. There are also veggies included so it's really a full meal all in one.
If you plan to serve my creamy salmon pasta with spinach as part of a full-course meal for date night, I recommend starting with an easy champagne & greens salad, finishing with chocolate cake for two, and including an inexpensive wine pick in there, too.
Creamy Salmon Pasta Ingredients
I assume you're here to to learn how to make salmon pasta with cream sauce but just want to confirm before we get into the ingredients. They're simple but so delicious that I'd hate to get you all excited if you're in the wrong place. All good? Cool. Here's the ingredient list you'll need to make it.
- Cayenne and Crushed Red Pepper
- Farfalle Pasta (also called bowtie pasta)
- Fresh Baby Spinach
- Lemon Juice
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Spicy Cream Sauce (more on that below)
Spicy Cream Sauce for Salmon & Pasta
With just a few ingredients, you'll have a spicy lemon cream sauce for the salmon with flavor notes from white wine and extra creaminess plus a little umami action from parmesan cheese and mushrooms. It's not quite a Cajun cream sauce but you will get that familiar kick of spice. Here's what you need to make salmon pasta sauce from scratch.
- Baby Bella Mushrooms
- Cayenne and Crushed Red Pepper
- Heavy Cream
- Lemon Zest
- Parmesan Cheese (Be sure to use shredded not grated!)
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- White Wine
I make the creamy salmon pasta sauce in a large skillet then toss the spinach, bowtie pasta, and roasted salmon all. up. in. it. The result is delicious every time and not heavy so you won't feel weighed down afterward. Just flavorful salmon, veggies, and farfalle lightly coated in a lemony, creamy, white wine sauce.
How do I Know When Salmon is Done?
Most of us could do with more fish in our diet so it's perfectly reasonable that you might not be cooking salmon at home on the regular. Here are my tips to make sure salmon is done.
- Baking salmon in the oven is my preferred method as it's so easy. When roasting salmon this way, it takes about 12 minutes to cook through at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In comparison to raw salmon, cooked salmon is a much lighter shade pink, less glossy, and opaque as opposed to translucent. There may be portions of the salmon that are white, as well. This is albumin--protein that turns white and becomes visible when cooking salmon.
- Fully cooked salmon should be flaky. Press down on it gently with a fork or spoon (just about any utensil, really), and the salmon should separate easily along the lines you see in it.
- Use a meat thermometer to be sure. Salmon is fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the salmon (usually the middle) to be sure.
Tips for Success with this Recipe
- In creating this recipe, I thought what flavors go well with salmon? Since salmon is such a versatile fish, lots of flavors pair wonderfully with it. This means you can tweak the flavors a little in my spicy cream sauce, if you like. Use whatever (preferably dry) white wine you prefer. Dial the spice level up or down to suit your tolerance. Add in more veggies. Do you!
- And if you're wondering how long does it take to cook bowtie pasta, just consult the package directions. While we're on the note of pasta, you can use other kinds of pasta in this recipe, too. Penne, and fettuccine also work really well.
- If you and your family don't plan to consume all the salmon pasta servings in one sitting, I recommend storing the spicy cream sauce separately from the salmon and pasta as it will need to be stirred when reheating to prevent separation. Store all components (pasta, salmon, and sauce) refrigerated, in airtight containers.
I hope you'll try my salmon pasta with spicy cream sauce and make it part of your weeknight dinner routine, too. Sharing is caring so be sure to pin this easy fancy salmon recipe on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
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How to Make Salmon Pasta with Spicy Cream Sauce
Simply cooked salmon and farfalle pasta in a flavorful cream sauce made with lemon, white wine, and red peppers.
- 12 ounces salmon
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- 10 ounces farfalle (bowtie) pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 baby bella mushrooms sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup white wine
- crushed red pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
- chopped fresh parsley optional garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place salmon, skin side down, on a baking dish. Season with sea salt and black pepper then squeeze lemon juice all over top. Roast salmon in oven for about 12 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Separate salmon filet(s) from skin and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Meanwhile, cook pasta per package directions in salted water, drain, and set aside.
While pasta and salmon cook, add 1-2 tbsp olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat and add chopped onion. Stir and cook until fragrant and translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic, mushrooms, then butter and allow butter to melt, stirring constantly.
Add heavy cream, white wine, lemon zest, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper to pan. Stir until uniform and bring to a boil (about 4 minutes).
Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in shredded Parmesan cheese until melted, and let sauce simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.
Turn off heat and stir in spinach until wilted. Add pasta and salmon pieces to pan and gently toss to coat in the sauce. Garnish with parsley and more shredded Parmesan, if desired.