This farfalle with fresh salmon proves that although it isn’t a native Italian fish, and one rarely sees it on restaurant menus, its rich flavor makes for a great pasta sauce. This straightforward farfalle recipe brings out its flavor. If salmon were popular in Italy, this is probably how it would be prepared.–Giuliano Hazan

A white bowl filled with farfelle with fresh salmon is nested inside another white bowl with a carafe and glass of red wine in the background.

Farfalle with Fresh Salmon

4.70 / 10 votes
In this quick and easy pasta main dish, fresh salmon melds beautifully with a rich tomato cream sauce and tender pasta.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories783 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound salmon fillet, skinned* (see Note below)
  • 1 pound farfalle, (penne or fusilli are also good)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 to 8 basil leaves


  • Fill a large pot with about 6 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
  • Pour the oil in a 12-inch skillet, add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is sizzling. Add the tomatoes, season with salt, and cook until the tomatoes release their liquid and it evaporates, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • While the tomatoes are cooking, cut the salmon into strips about 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long.
  • When the tomato liquid has evaporated, add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water and then add the farfalle. Stir well and cook until al dente.
  • While the farfalle is cooking, add the salmon to the tomatoes, season with salt, and add the cream. Coarsely chop or rip the basil and add it to the skillet. Cook until the cream has thickened and reduced by about 1/3, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • When the farfalle is done, drain well, toss it with the salmon sauce, and serve at once.


*What You Need To Know About How To Rid Salmon Of Its Skin

To rid the salmon of its slippery skin, you can ask your fishmonger to do it. But sometimes they forget–or pretend not to hear you. If this happens, grab a paper towel in 1 hand and a sharp chef’s knife in the other. Place the fillet, skin side down, on a work surface. Grasp one edge in one hand, using the paper towel to provide traction between your fingers and the skin. In your other hand, grasp the knife and make a gash in the fillet about 1/4 inch from the edge of the fillet. The gash should cut through flesh and go almost but not quite all the way through the skin. Scooch the knife blade between the flesh and the skin, angling it about 45 degrees, and slide the blade along the length of the fillet, pressing gently. The fish should fall away in a neat, skinless fillet.

Adapted From

Thirty Minute Pasta

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 783 kcalCarbohydrates: 94 gProtein: 29 gFat: 32 gSaturated Fat: 13 gMonounsaturated Fat: 13 gCholesterol: 82 mgSodium: 56 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 10 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Giuliano Hazan. Photo © 2009 Joseph De Leo. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is a very straightforward pasta recipe that was easy to prepare and ready in under 30 minutes, just as stated in the cookbook title. Even with the cream, the sauce was light and delicious. Adding the salmon imparted a wonderful flavor and also boosted the nutritional value of the dish.

Amazing pasta dish—lots of flavor, not too rich. easy to make. I made this with fresh wild-caught Alaska salmon (the best IMHO) and fresh summer tomatoes. When there are so few ingredients, I think this recipe benefits from using the freshest and the best. Will definitely make this again.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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