Make this easy Salmon Pesto Pasta with Corn tonight for dinner tonight. It’s bursting with fresh basil pesto, corn, and rich salmon pieces twirled into fettuccine pasta.
Another transition recipe comin’ in hot for you!
I know you know that pesto and pasta is one of the most incredible combinations out there.
The pesto: fresh, flavorful, and bright. It’s slightly rich from the olive oil, pungent from fresh garlic, mellow and earthy from nuts… all working together to produce a luxurious sauce.
The fettuccini: long twirls of carb perfection.
The salmon: only ever using sustainable, rich, fatty in the best way possible, melt-in-your-mouth, salmon.
If you’re confused when I say “transition recipe”, first check out this Easy Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce.
Then, listen up, because what I’m now dubbing ‘transition recipes’ are those that you can make late in summer when produce is aplenty, or transition into the cooler months with either:
a) what you have stored away in your freezer
b) what’s hanging on from your herb garden
c) store-bought… because when there’s a will, there’s a way, and there’s nothing wrong with a little store-bought to make easy weeknight dinners delicious.
So whether you’re using fresh from your garden basil for pesto, or letting someone else take care of the pesto-making-process, buckle up because this simple dinner is ready for you!
Steps to Making Pesto Pasta with Salmon
There are a few different steps to this recipe, but they are simple to follow and easy to execute.
First, start by pan-searing the salmon. The best way to get crispy skin and exterior is to make sure that you pat the salmon dry before placing it in your hot pan.
Of course, you don’t want to forget to salt and pepper the filets – FLAVOR is KEY!
So the salmon sears, and you’ll remove it from the pan to create the pasta sauce. This is part of layering the flavor, bit by bit we’re stacking on flavors and the complexity your taste buds will experience is gonna be goooood.
The sauce starts with a base of shallots (sub yellow onion if you can’t find ’em), butter, garlic, and of course, again, layering in the flavors with salt, red pepper flakes, and freshly ground black pepper.
Then we’ve got the other rockstars of this recipe: in goes pesto, whole milk (or half-and-half), corn, parmesan, and…the key to making your sauce luscious and one with the pasta: pasta water!
The pasta sauce simmers, then in goes the al dente noodles. They both simmer together to combine into their magical pasta self, and then either flake apart the salmon and stir it in, or serve it filet style.
Make it a Meal: What Do I Serve With It?
My simple answer would be: a glass of white wine and basil garnish.
This pasta is hearty enough to stand on its own, but I’m never one to turn down additional sides.
I’d recommend serving it with roasted broccolini (an obvious choice coming from me, I know) or a side salad.
Or, you know, go big with freshly baked slices of sourdough bread and really good butter. I’m here for it.
Enjoy, eat, be happy in the moment.
More Salmon Recipes to Love:
- Teriyaki Salmon
- Rosemary Salmon Foil Packet
- Simple Salmon Citrus Salad
- Garlic Lemon Butter Salmon Pasta
- Miso Ginger Glazed Salmon
Salmon Pesto Pasta with Corn makes for an impressive weeknight dinner or an easy special occasion meal! Make it year-round using frozen corn and freezer or store-bought pesto.
- 12–14 oz. fettuccine pasta
- 1 lb salmon filets (4 filets)
- 1 1/2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced (~1/4 cup)
- 4–6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup corn kernels, fresh (2 ears) or frozen (thawed)
- 3 TBSP basil pesto
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
- 1/4 cup whole milk (or half-and-half)
- 1/4 cup pasta water + additional as needed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional: red pepper flakes
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook fettuccine noodles a few minutes shy of al dente, according to package directions. The noodles will finish cooking in the sauce.
- Pat salmon filets dry and salt and pepper each side. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add the salmon filets, skin side down if they have the skin on, and sear for 4 minutes. The salmon should pretty easily lift up when it’s ready to flip, if not, give it another minute. Sear on the other side for 3-5 minutes until the internal temperature reaches approximately 145°F. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same skillet, add butter. Once melted, add the sliced shallots and a pinch of salt; cook for 2-4 minutes until slightly soft. Add minced garlic, a pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes if using. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the corn kernels and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Stir in pesto, milk, and 1/4 cup pasta water, and additional salt to taste; bring to a simmer.
- Stir in parmesan cheese and add in the just-before-al-dente noodles; toss to combine, adding additional pasta water as needed to reach the desired consistency of the sauce. Taste test for salt levels, too. Let the noodles cook for an additional 1-2 minutes in the sauce.
- Serve with salmon filets or flake the salmon and toss in the pasta.
Be sure to pat the salmon dry completely before pan-searing to get a wonderfully seared crust.
If using half-and-half, you may need to add additional pasta water to the sauce to loosen it up.
Don’t forget to salt along the way and taste test levels! The parmesan will add additional salt to the pasta, so I recommend salting a little less than normal before adding, and being sure to taste test once the cheese is in and adjusting from there.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: weeknight dinner, salmon, pesto, pasta