Smoked Salmon Pasta

LentQuick and EasyPasta and NoodlesSalmon

Smoked salmon with pasta in a sauce of shallots, garlic, white wine, lemon, and cream, with toasted pine nuts and parsley.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

What I love about this recipe, other than the ingredients (smoked salmon, pine nuts, yum!) is that it can be pulled together so quickly and it’s not particularly heavy, as so many cream sauce pastas can be.

There’s also room for maneuvering; add more or less wine or cream to taste; leave out the pine nuts if you can’t be bothered; add some asparagus or cream cheese if you want; use smoked trout or sturgeon instead of the salmon.

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The essentials are smoked fish, lemon, garlic, and pasta with some olive oil, wine, and or cream binding them together.

Smoked Salmon Pasta

Smoked Salmon Pasta Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 3


  • 8 ounces spaghetti (or other) pasta
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots (can substitute onions)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (can substitute pasta cooking water with a Tbsp of lemon juice)
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (divided into 1 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or dill
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Fresh ground black pepper


1 Put pasta water on to boil: Heat to boiling a large pot with at least 4 quarts of salted water in it. (2 Tbsp of salt for 4 quarts of water.)

2 Toast the pine nuts: While the water is heating, brown the pine nuts. Put the pine nuts in a single layer in a large skillet. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove pine nuts from pan and set aside.

3 Start cooking the pasta: Once the water is boiling, add the pasta to the pot. Cook uncovered on high heat at a rolling boil. Put the timer on for 8-10 minutes, or whatever your pasta package says is appropriate for al dente (cooked but still a little firm).

Once the pasta is done, and before draining the pasta, scoop out one cup of the pasta cooking liquid and reserve.

4 Prepare the sauce: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, cook for 2 minutes, then add white wine, lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp of lemon zest. Increase the heat and let boil down by half.

If you want a slightly creamy sauce, add the cream and let boil a minute more.

The sauce should be done about the same time the pasta is done. If you get done earlier with it than the pasta, take it off the heat.

5 Add pasta, some pasta cooking liquid, smoked salmon, toasted pine nuts, parsley, zest to sauce: Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the sauce. Add back some of the pasta cooking liquid to the pasta if it is a little dry. Add the smoked salmon, toasted pine nuts, parsley, and the remaining lemon zest. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

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Smoked Salmon Pasta

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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88 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Marcus

    Delicious- go easy on the lemon zest and no salt. The pine nuts are a perfect foil for the smoked fish. Serve with an avocado and green salad! Enjoy.

  2. Jilly

    Delicious. I found all the flavours to be perfectly balanced (*albeit with the lemon zest at about half the called for amount – based on some comments). Loved the added pine nuts as well as the bit of freshness which the lemon brings to the dish. It’s such a wonderfully easy recipe to make. This will definitely be making it into my recipe ‘keepers’ book.


  3. rachel burfitt

    This was terrible – so acidic! a tablespoon of lemon zest seems way too much. We couldn’t eat it.


  4. Patricia

    This is so delectable…depending on your tastes (I have a family of nine, only 3 liked it.) It is fully of lemony, salty goodness…the sauce is a bit lemony on its own, but once paired with the smokey, salty salmon…yum! I added feta to mine for extra salty and then drank a Lavelle’s sweet reisling with it…the perfect pairing for me with sweet amd salty! I gave it a 4 out 5 because more than half the family didn’t like it, but to the other side that did….so so so good!


  5. Debbie

    This was so good. I did use only a little bit of lemon juice-maybe half a tsp. as don’t want it too lemony but did use the lemon zest in the recipe. Otherwise I didn’t change a thing. Wow. I wouldn’t add any extra Parmesan cheese or anything else. Was just in WI & bought smoked whitefish so I used that. Amazing. Thank you for posting this. Will make again.


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