This Farfalle with Salmon, Lemon, and Peas is a deliciously easy pasta recipe with chunks of tender salmon, and garden peas in a to-die-for creamy lemon sauce!
This quick weeknight dinner is an old family favorite, I’m not sure why I’ve never posted it here before. The dinner comes together in the time it takes the pasta to cook, and the flavor is wonderfully lemony. I love salmon, and this is one way to make a half a pound stretch to feed four. The ingredient list is short: farfalle (or bow tie pasta,) salmon, frozen peas, cream, lemon, and a dash of Parmesan cheese. A little salt and pepper is all you need to finish off a wonderful family meal that is hearty but manages to be light and bright at the same time. You can thank the fresh lemon juice and zest for that.
This is a homey meal that has a restaurant ‘feel’ to it. I think it’s the heavy cream that’s responsible, which also means that this is not low calorie dish. But the cream does so many good things for this pasta, I think, once you taste it, you’ll agree the calories are worth it. For one thing the cream allows you to add as much lemon as you need to get great lemony flavor. With anything short of heavy cream, the sauce would curdle with the addition of the acidic citrus juice. This is also a kid pleaser and a great way to introduce fish to picky eaters…my girls grew up loving ‘pink fish’, and this has been one of their most requested meals over the years.
You can use leftover cooked salmon, but I usually buy a small piece and poach it especially for this dish. I put the fish in a saucepan and add water, almost to cover. I bring it to a boil, then cover tightly and turn off the heat. The salmon cooks to perfection in about 10 minutes. I drain it, remove any skin, and gently break it apart with clean hands. The fish flakes naturally into large pieces which retain their integrity in the sauce. You want to be able to see and taste that beautiful salmon, so don’t break it up too much.
Farfalle is the perfect pasta shape for this, it retains a bite, and the lemony cream sauce nestles in the crevices of the bow. I think pasta shapes like this are so much better for creamy sauces, everything just mixes together better and doesn’t clump like strand pasta can.
- 2 good rounded cups farfalle, (bowtie pasta) uncooked
- 1/2 lb salmon fillet or leftover cooked salmon
- juice and zest of 1 large or 2 small lemons
- 1 cup frozen peas (no need to defrost)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- If your salmon is not cooked, place it in a saucepan and almost cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover tightly and remove from the heat. Let it poach for 10 minutes. Drain and remove the skin, then gently pull the fish into large flakes with clean hands. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta to just al dente. I usually cook it a couple of minutes LESS than the package tells me to, this way the pasta retains some bite. Drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the cream in a large saute pan. Add the frozen peas, the flaked salmon, the lemon juice, zest, and the salt and pepper to taste and heat everything through. Add the cooked pasta and a good sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Mix everything well and make sure the sauce is good and hot. Take the time to give it a taste, and adjust the salt and pepper, and maybe add more lemon or cheese if it needs it. Serve with extra cheese.
Make it your own ~
- Use any pasta shape you like for this recipe, I like it with linguine or angel hair, too.
- You can substitute shrimp for the salmon.