Creamy Salmon Linguine and Asparagus

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Bursting with bright lemon and garlic flavor, this Creamy Salmon Linguine with Asparagus is a perfect spring dinner. We’ve got all the tips for getting this pasta recipe on your table in just 30 minutes!

Creamy Salmon Linguine

Of all the pastas in the land, lemony pastas are my favorite kind, at least if you asked me today. This explains why we have so many iterations of them. Our Creamy Shrimp Pappardelle, Roasted Vegetable Pasta, and Parmesan Lemon Linguine all benefit from a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
However, this Salmon Asparagus Pasta is the first time I’ve sauteed lemon zest in butter, and MY LORD, I would like that smell in a candle, please.
This dish is a spring time dream. Let’s start by discussing the lemon cream sauce. It’s velvety and smooth, rich and creamy without being heavy.
To the sauce, we add strings of linguine, along with salmon and asparagus. We bake the salmon and asparagus on a sheet pan with lots of lemon, butter, and garlic. It’s wildly delicious, and finishes baking while the pasta cooks.
You might be tempted to eat the salmon and asparagus on its own for dinner (I get it, I really do), but if you can resist you’ll be rewarded with a truly incredible salmon pasta recipe.
Key Ingredients + Substitutions

Salmon– This recipe was tested with both frozen and fresh salmon, skin on and skin off. Any of these work! Be sure to defrost frozen salmon before proceeding with the recipe.
Asparagus– Look for firm, green asparagus stems without any softness or discoloration around the tips. Avoid asparagus that is limp or wilted. For this recipe, we prefer thinner stems that will cook in about the same amount of time as the salmon.
Lemon– We’ll need one medium sized lemon for this recipe, which yields 2-3 Tablespoons of juice. Since we’ll be using both the zest and the juice, use a microplane zester to remove the zest first, then juice the lemon.
Garlic– We use garlic for the salmon AND the sauce. Make short work of mincing with a garlic press.
Butter– Butter, garlic, and lemon are the flavor trinity that brings the salmon to life!
Heavy Cream– I don’t recommend substituting half and half for the cream. I tested this recipe with half and half, and while it was certainly edible, the texture was not as nice as heavy cream.
Pasta– We love pairing this creamy lemon sauce with a long, thin pasta like linguine. Other great options include angel hair, spaghetti, and fettuccine.

How to Make Salmon Linguine
The key to this recipe is in the timing. We want the sauce, pasta, and salmon to all be hot and ready at the same time. To do this, we’ll be juggling a couple of elements at once, but don’t worry, you’ve got this.

Step 1: Preheat the oven and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Step 2: Prep the salmon and asparagus by dousing it in lemon, garlic, and butter. Place the salmon in the oven around the same time you add the linguine to the boiling water.

Step 3: While the salmon and pasta cook, prepare the lemon cream sauce. Saute garlic and lemon zest in butter, then add cream and let them get to know each other. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Add Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper, to taste.
Step 4: Drain pasta (reserve some of that pasta water!) and toss it with the cream sauce, adding splashes of reserved pasta water to thin the sauce as needed.

Step 5: Remove the salmon from the oven and flake with a fork, then combine the salmon, asparagus, and pasta with the cream sauce. You’re done!

Make Ahead and Storage Instructions
Creamy pastas are always best served fresh. If you have leftovers, keep them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Reheat leftover pasta in the microwave or on the stove top, adding a splash of cream to rehydrate and bring back some of the creaminess.

Tips for Perfect Pasta

Salt the pasta water– You’ll find this tip in all of our pasta recipes, because it truly makes any pasta better! We recommend 1 ½ tablespoons of sea or Kosher salt for every large pot of boiling water.
Save the pasta water– That salty, starchy pasta water is perfect for adding volume to a sauce. We mix it with the cream base to get a luscious sauce that coats every noodle.
Don’t overcook the salmon– Salmon cooks quickly and can dry out if overcooked. Cooking a larger salmon portion rather than individual fillets can help prevent overcooking. (A tip we use in our Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa). As soon as the fish turns from a brighter, translucent pink to a light pink, begin taking the temperature. I prefer to pull salmon from the oven when an instant read thermometer reads between 130 and 135 degrees. When it flakes easily with a fork, it’s done!

More Pasta Recipes to Enjoy
If creamy pastas are your thing, try our Pasta and Peas, Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta, Creamy Mushroom and Leek Pasta, and Creamy Sundried Tomato Chicken Pasta.
If you prefer a red sauce, our Cheesy One Pot Lasagna, Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce, and Ground Beef Stuffed Shells are great options.
For a lighter pasta recipe, try our Summery Lemon Linguine or our Salmon Pesto Pasta.

For the salmon and asparagus:Juice and zest of 1 lemon (divided)1 lb salmon fillet (skinless or skin on)¾ lb. asparagus (ends trimmed and cut into bite size pieces)4 cloves garlic (minced)3 Tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)Kosher salt and pepperDried parsley (optional)For the linguine:12 oz. linguine1 Tablespoon olive oil2 Tablespoons unsalted butter2 cloves garlic (minced)1 cup heavy cream½ cup grated Parmesan cheese3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsleySalt and pepperLemon wedges (for serving)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.Zest the lemon and save it in a bowl. Squeeze the juice into another bowl, then whisk in the garlic and melted butter.Place the salmon, skin side down (if it’s skin on), on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Surround it with the asparagus pieces. Brush the salmon with the lemon garlic mixture, then pour the remaining mixture over the asparagus. Season everything generously with Kosher salt, pepper, and parsley, if desired. Toss to combine.Bake for 10-12 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork and asparagus is tender. Remove and set aside.Around the time the salmon goes into the oven, add the pasta to the boiling water and follow package instructions to cook to al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water in a measuring cup. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and reserved lemon zest and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the heavy cream. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer until cream is slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.Add the cooked pasta to the cream sauce, stirring to coat. Add pasta water in ¼ cup portions, stirring and allowing the water to blend with the cream sauce and coat the noodles. You may only need 1/4 cup of water. You may need more to get the consistency you want.Flake the salmon apart, leaving the skin behind, and stir it and the asparagus spears into the pasta. Serve hot with lemon wedges, if desired.

This recipe works with skin on skinless salmon. You can use frozen salmon, just be sure to thaw it first.
You can substitute the linguine with other long, thin noodles like spaghetti, angel hair, or even fettuccine.
Look for asparagus that is smaller in diameter so it will finish cooking at the same time as the salmon.

Cuisine American, Italian Keyword salmon linguine, salmon and asparagus pasta
Calories: 608kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 679mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1406IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 3mg

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