Penne al Salmone is a classic Italian recipe which features penne pasta and salmon mixed together in a creamy sauce. This is a rich and delicious dish that can be made in under 30 minutes.
This penne al salmone is an easy Italian style dish that is savory and delicious. It is also commonly referred to as creamy salmon pasta. There are many variations of this dish to fit all dietary needs.
As a registered dietitian, I frequently recommend salmon as a good source of healthy fats. This recipe is an easy way to put a unique spin on your normal salmon recipe.
Reasons to Love This
- The penne al salmone is easy to prepare. It requires just a few ingredients and can be made in under 30 minutes.
- The salmon provides a good source of heart healthy fats. Salmon contains omega 3 fatty acids, which may help lower the risk of heart disease. (Source)
- This recipe is customizable. You can make it gluten free, or create different variations by adding a different type of protein or adding vegetables to the dish.
Penne Pasta: this is most commonly used in Italian dishes. It is a short tube shape. It can be substituted with a different type of pasta or a gluten free pasta.
Salmon: the salmon can be fresh or smoked. Either wild caught or farm raised salmon will work.
Olive oil: use a good quality olive oil. I recommend this brand of olive oil (affiliate link) for cooking because it holds flavor well at a high temperature.
Heavy Cream: this is used to make the cream sauce for the pasta.
Garlic and Shallots: these add a savory flavor to the dish. You can substitute the shallot with an onion.
White Wine: select a light version such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. These wines hold flavor nicely when cooking.
Substitutions and Variations
Pasta: you can substitute the pasta with a gluten free noodle. The gluten free noodles made out of brown rice and quinoa work best. You can also substitute a different time of pasta noodle, such as spaghetti or ziti.
Salmon: replace the salmon with any other type of fish such as tilapia or cod. You can also use shrimp or chicken breast. Cooking times will vary.
Cream Sauce: make a lighter version of this pasta by using half and half, instead of full cream sauce.
White Wine: you can substitute the white wine with vodka. Use only 2 tablespoons. You can also use vegetable broth.
- 1 large knife: used to remove skin from salmon
- Large pot: used to boil the pasta
- 1 large pan: used to cook the cream sauce and salmon
- Cheese grater- used to shred cheese
Step by Step Instructions
Pour the olive oil into a medium pan. Add the shallot and cook over medium low heat until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
Cut the salmon into about 4 pieces and add to the pan. Cook each side for 2 minutes.
Add the wine and wait for the alcohol to evaporate. Stir frequently, scraping up any pieces food in the bottom of the pan. The wine should reduce in amount by half.
Add the cream and continue to simmer until the fish is done. This will take about 7 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
While the salmon is cooking, boil your water for the pasta and add the penne. Cook according to the package instructions about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
Break the salmon into small pieces, then add the pasta into the sauce. Mix well. Add the reserved pasta water in ¼ cup increments until the desired consistency is achieved. Add the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Serve warm.
- The pasta will continue to absorb the cream sauce once they are mixed together. Reserve some of the water used to boil the pasta and add in ¼ cup increments until the desired sauce consistency is achieved.
- Be sure to remove the skin of the salmon before cooking. You can also purchase the salmon without any skin on it.
- The parmesan cheese adds extra flavor to the dish. You can increase or decrease the amount used based on how cheesy you prefer the dish to be.
Leftovers and Reheating
Refrigerator: store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Refrigerate within 1 hour of eating to avoid harmful bacteria growth. Here are the full USDA guidelines on safely storing leftovers.
Freezer: freeze for up to 1 month. Please note that the texture and quality of the dish will be affected if frozen. It still tastes good, however the salmon will not taste as fresh.
Reheating: reheat in the microwave in 30 second intervals until steaming hot. You can also reheat over the stove by placing a small amount of oil in a pan and cooking until hot.
- Serve with a side salad or a side of veggies, such as steamed broccoli, carrots or zucchini.
- Serve with a side of fruit, tomato salad for a lighter option.
- Serve with a roll, a slice of garlic bread or another type of bread, like these morning glory muffins.
- Create a seafood themed meal and serve with crab cakes, shrimp and seafood paella.
Frequently Asked Questions
Penne is typically made from durum wheat semolina and water. The dough is mixed, extruded through a die to create the characteristic tube shape, and then dried to produce the pasta.
Yes, just be sure to defrost it first. Fresh salmon has the best texture, however frozen salmon will work just as well.
The salmon is done when it’s flaky and the internal temperature reaches 145F as measured with a meat thermometer.
One serving contains 711 calories. While this is a high calorie dish, you can decrease the calories by using milk in place of heavy cream or by withholding the parmesan cheese.
Penne al Salmone
- 1 pot
- 1 pan
- 1 knife
- 8 oz penne pasta uncooked
- ½ pound salmon fresh, skin removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup parmesan cheese grated
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- Parmesan and basil -optional for serving
- Place a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the shallot and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
- Cut the salmon into about 6 pieces and add to the pan. Cook each side for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the wine and continue to stir, scraping up any pieces of food in the bottom of the pan. The alcohol will begin the evaporate and the amount of wine in the pan should reduce by half (this takes about 4-5 minutes).
- Add the cream and continue to cook until the fish is done. This will take about 6-7 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
- While the salmon is cooking, boil your water for the pasta and add the penne. Cook according to the package instructions about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- Break the salmon into small pieces, then add the pasta into the sauce. Mix well. Add the reserved pasta water in ¼ cup increments until the desired consistency is achieved. Add the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Serve warm.