linguine with lemon cream sauce and salmon

This is not a great title for this recipe; I wanted to add “and seasonal vegetables” at the end, but that was getting too long. In the version I made tonight, I used zucchini and summer squash; when I make this in the spring, I like to use asparagus, and I imagine that fresh peas and even chopped green beans would also do nicely here. This recipe is something of an original; I found the sauce online, but it wasn’t intended to be a pasta sauce, and everything else was my own little invention. I think it’s a lovely spring/summer pasta that tastes light and fresh, and contains lots of things that are good for you (salmon, vegetables), to make up for the heavy cream. 

Things have slowed down around here a bit the last few weeks, as I was at home. I didn’t do a very good job of photographing things that I made, and I mostly ended up making recipes already posted on the blog that friends and family requested. Now that I’m back in NJ, I’ve been hit with an onslaught of moving-related tasks. I realized that, despite moving transcontinentally multiple times, and from the deep South to the Northeast, I’ve never moved properly, i.e. with moving trucks and lots of boxes and having to get utilities switched into one’s name, etc. All of my moves thus far have involved me cramming everything I could fit into two suitcases and a carry-on, desperately heaving them through airports, and sometimes being charged large fees because they were overweight (ugh). None of that was remotely enjoyable, but I guess we’ll see if “real” moving is better or worse. In any event, the new kitchen is dramatically nicer than what I am using now, and, most importantly, includes a DISHWASHER.

All that was kind of an apology for slowing down. I do have several recipes in store for the next few days, and will try to survive the move without too much disruption. Up next: Nutella swirl cheesecake bars, which I’m rather excited to post (and eat, once they’ve finished chilling properly!).

Linguine with Lemon Cream Sauce and Salmon

I’ve included variations using other vegetables at the end. You could use yellow zucchini instead of yellow squash, or you could just use green zucchini, or just yellow squash, or whatever combination of vegetables you please, really. To cut the squash and zucchini, I cut them into rounds first, and then cut each round into thin strips (i.e. matchsticks). It really doesn’t take long, even if it sounds tedious.

Serves 4


Salmon filets (about 12 oz. worth)
1 small zucchini, cut into matchsticks
1 small yellow squash, cut into matchsticks
1 cup heavy cream
Juice of 1 lemon
4 cloves garlic
4-6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
2 tablespoons butter, plus extra for cooking the salmon and zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. linguine
Salt, to taste


Preheat oven to 400ºF. Start heating water for pasta. Mince two of the garlic cloves, and slice the other two roughly. When the pasta water is boiling, add the linguine and cook according to package directions until al dente.

To prepare the salmon, place the filets in a baking dish. Salt the fish, dot each filet with butter, and sprinkle the roughly-chopped garlic on top. Bake the salmon for 7-8 minutes, until done. It may take longer, depending on how thick your filets are. Salmon is done when it is still a bit pink in the middle.

While the salmon is baking and the pasta boiling, make the sauce. First, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. When the butter has melted, slowly pour in the cream, whisking the sauce while you are pouring. Bring the butter-cream mixture to a low boil while continuing to whisk. Once the sauce is boiling, slowly add the lemon juice, while still whisking. Add the two minced garlic cloves and basil, and mix thoroughly. Salt to taste, then set aside.

In a medium-sized frying pan, heat a small pat of butter and the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced zucchini and squash. Salt to taste. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash and zucchini are thoroughly heated and beginning to soften.

By now, the pasta and salmon should both be nearly finished. Once you have drained the pasta, return it to its pot and place over low heat. Pour in the lemon basil cream sauce, and toss thoroughly. Add zucchini and squash, and toss again. Divide the pasta onto four plates, and place a portion of the salmon filet on top of each serving. Alternatively, you can flake the salmon and toss it with the pasta. The salmon should easily separate from its skin once it has been cooked.

Serve immediately.

A few variations:

1) Asparagus: I don’t have precise measurements for how much asparagus I use; I generally go with about half of the bunches they sell it in at grocery stores when I’m making it for two people, so I guess you could use a whole bunch for four. Just use what looks like enough. To prepare the asparagus, snap off the thick, woody ends; you just grasp the asparagus at both ends, bend until it snaps, and throw away the part at the bottom that snapped off. Chop the asparagus into pieces about 2 inches long. Instead of pan-frying, as with the zucchini, just toss the asparagus in with the pasta during its last 3 minutes of cooking time. So easy! When I make this with asparagus, I use penne pasta; since the penne and the asparagus are about the same size and shape, it makes for easier eating.

2) Peas: Again, you’re on your own for measurements here, and the same goes for the green beans that follow. As far as cooking goes, the pea method is similar to the asparagus method (i.e. cooking the peas with the pasta), but since fresh peas can take longer to cook, you should boil them along with the pasta for the full cooking time, or even add them to the boiling water a minute or so before adding the pasta, if they are especially large. If you are using frozen peas, cook according to the package instructions. If I were making this with peas, I would use conchiglie (i.e. medium pasta shells), because they have a very cute way of cupping the peas.

3) Green beans: These can also be cooked like the asparagus. Use only fresh beans, and chop them into 2-inch pieces. Throw them into the pasta water during the last 3-4 minutes. I would also use penne with this version.

With all of these variations, you should toss the pasta/vegetable mixture with the sauce after draining, then add the salmon.

Sauce adapted from

3 Comments on “linguine with lemon cream sauce and salmon”

  1. kat says:

    Omigosh YUMM!!! I love that it’s loaded with veggies! Thanks for sharing your recipe! I’m new to blogging, and I love that there’s a foodie community. If you have time, please let me know if you have any advice for my blog: 🙂

  2. […] skills are to blame, or maybe we can peg this one on the salmon – I’ve posted two other salmon recipes, and I wasn’t super happy with either of those photos either, however much I liked […]

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