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Spaghetti salmone e limone recipe

Spaghetti salmone e limone recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
  • Seafood pasta
  • Salmon pasta
  • Smoked salmon pasta

Easy and quick, this spaghetti with salmon and lemon comes packed full of taste, making it perfect for a family meal, antipasto... or a World Cup match.

Setúbal, Portugal

8 people made this

IngredientsServes: 2

  • 300g salted or smoked salmon, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 250g spaghetti
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra
  • 15g Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and chopped

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:10min ›Extra time:20min › Ready in:40min

  1. Season the salmon fillets with dill and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Start boiling the pasta as usual. Zest the whole lemon and juice half.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the salmon and 3/4 of the lemon zest. Toss to mix everything well together. Remove from heat.
  4. Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and toss.
  5. Add the salmon, 1/2 the parsley, lemon juice and chilli. Give it one last toss.
  6. Serve with the remaining parsley and lemon zest as garnish.

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Simplest spaghetti al limone

In 2011, I shared a recipe for spaghetti with cheese and black pepper (cacio e pepe) but it always bothered me that it contained extra ingredients and that the technique left a wide margin of error. In 2018, I finally cracked the code at home and ran to the internet to tell you about it. Today I’m sharing what I hope will be a similar glow-up for spaghetti (or fettuccine) al limone, a classic pasta dish from, depending on who you are asking, Genoa, Amalfi, Sicily and further (the common thread is, no surprise, places where lemons are grown). In its simplest form, spaghetti al limone contains only lemons, olive oil, parmesan, salt, pepper, and a few leaves of fresh basil in an uncooked sauce. Versions abound, including mine from 2011, with cream, butter, wine, shallots, or more, usually simmered and reduced. Garlic, ricotta, and/or goat cheese are not uncommon. I suspect it’s less due to a blasphemous streak or attempting to bait this parody account, but because they are all delicious. You should feel no obligation to choose.

But it was the River Cafe London’s 30th anniversary cookbook edition, released last year, that reminded me of what a pure and wonderful thing spaghetti al limone can be when made as uncluttered as possible. Their minimalist version is heated at the end but I found the technique I use for my foolproof cacio e pepe — a thicker paste of a sauce, thinned with just a small splash of pasta water after it has coated the hot spaghetti — to work more reliably, and to all but eliminate leading weary home cooks to wonder why they haven’t been able to coalesce oil and water together on a Tuesday night. I find I need much less lemon and olive oil, as well. Marcella Hazan calls fettuccine al limone “one of those lightning-quick Italian triumphs” and she, SK’s patron saint of Italian triumphs, seems like a good person to trust on this. It takes all of a minute longer to make than pasta takes to boil and the result is the kind of sunny, summery, quick meals we all need more of in our repertoires.


Simplest Spaghetti al Limone

  • Servings: 2 to 3
  • Time: 15 mins
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen

If you can find an unsprayed/unwaxed lemon, it’s all the better here. If you can’t, give your lemon a light scrub (not removing zest, of course) and dry it thoroughly before zesting it here.

    1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove two (2"-long) strips of lemon zest. Thinly slice each strip lengthwise into strands set aside for serving. Finely grate remaining zest into a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice into a small bowl to yield 2 Tbsp. set aside.
    2. Add cream to pot and cook over medium heat, whisking often, until liquid is just beginning to simmer, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk in butter 1 Tbsp. at a time until melted and sauce is creamy. Remove from heat cover to keep warm.
    3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in another large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions.
    4. Scoop out ¾ cup pasta cooking liquid and add to cream sauce. Return sauce to medium heat. Using tongs, transfer pasta to sauce and cook, tossing often and adding Parmesan a little at a time, until sauce is creamy, about 3 minutes. If sauce looks tight, add 1𔃀 Tbsp. more pasta cooking liquid. (Cream sauces tighten as they cool, so lean on the saucy side.) Stir in reserved lemon juice season with salt.
    5. Divide pasta among bowls. Season with pepper and top with reserved lemon zest strands.

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    The Creamy, Lemony Pasta You Need in Your Noodle Life

    Spaghetti al limone is one of those recipes whose name is more complicated than its preparation. (That is, if you don’t speak Italian. Sorry @Italiansmadatfood!) What we have here is a classic Italian dish of pasta in a lemon-cream sauce. Heavy cream. The good stuff.

    Recently, editor in chief Adam Rapoport had the pappardelle al limone at I Sodi in New York, a Bon Appétit staff favorite Italian restaurant/pasta temple, and honestly, he wouldn’t shut up about it. What makes it so special? “Butter,” he told me. Yet it feels lighter than heavy cream sauce, he added, while another staffer called it “alfredo for people in denial.” Digital director Carey Polis is maybe the biggest fan: “I mean, this sounds ridiculous but I really do feel this way: I lived in Italy for a year where I ate a pretty absurd amount of pasta, but I can’t think of one I crave or love more than the pappardelle al limone from I Sodi.” She wrote a book blurb for a plate of pasta, people! Sometimes we fixate on meals like this. We realized we didn’t have a recipe, and needed one ASAP. Molly Baz was assigned to develop it, coincidentally tweaking small factors—the shape of the pasta, the amount of lemon zest—so we had to keep trying it, over and over.

    But at its core, it’s as simple as cacio e pepe, an uncomplicated weeknight dinner that sustains and comforts. That’s a nice way of saying GIMME THE CARBSSSSS. Our sauce is the zest of a whole lemon (crucial for the unique, bright acidity of the final product), ¾ cup heavy cream, and butter. It emulsifies with some pasta water (the secret to restaurant-glossy pasta at home, another obsession of ours), and once you add the al dente noodles, it gets even creamier with the incremental addition of Parmesan. A final squeeze of lemon juice at the end “makes the fat. pop,” explained Molly, which, uh, is a good thing. It brightens up the supremely creamy sauce and the touch of acidity is what keeps you coming back for twirl after twirl. Don’t skimp on the salt to keep the balance in check.

    Technique-wise, I talked to Molly about the line in the recipe about the cream sauce “tightening up,” which is a bad thing. Translation: When a cream sauce cools, it thickens and loses its sauciness (like me at the fifth hour of your wedding). So you might end up using more starchy pasta water than usual to make up for that. Save two cups of pasta water to be sure!

    A note on noods: We tested with pappardelle, but found different brands were inconsistent, some thicker than others, shorter than others. A short noodle isn’t as satisfying to twirl into the sauce, and some thinner noodles broke into pieces in the thick sauce. We went with De Cecco spaghetti (our favorite), but any long noodle option will work. Follow your heart.

    Pasta Al Salmone Recipes

    Now that you know how to choose the best salmon, and which salmon type you prefer, it is now time to put the fish you chose to good use. So without further ado, here are some pasta al salmon recipes you can try at home:

    Recipe #1: Creamy Pasta Al Salmone

    Step 1: Cook your pasta in salted boiling water until completely al dente

    Step 2: Simmer smoked salmon with heavy cream to make the sauce. Continue to simmer the mixture until the salmon flavor is completely infused with the sauce

    Step 3: Add salt and pepper to the sauce

    Step 4: Add the sauce to the cooked pasta and toss until every piece of pasta is covered in sauce.

    Recipe #2: Pasta Al Salmone with Vodka

    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Half onion (chopped)
    • 250 g fresh salmon
    • 2 tablespoon vodka
    • 5 – 6 cherry tomatoes (chopped)
    • 80g smoked salmon (chopped)
    • 4 tablespoon single cream
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
    • 320 g pasta
    • 1 tbsp. parsley (chopped)

    Step 1: Cook pasta in salted boiling water until completely al dente

    Step 2: Fry onions in extra olive oil for a minute in a hot pan

    Step 3: Add fresh skinless and boneless salmon in the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side

    Step 4: Add vodka to the pan until the alcohol evaporates

    Step 5: Reduce the heat and add the smoked salmon, cherry tomatoes, and cream. Stir the sauce for 2 minutes

    Step 6: Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well

    Step 7: Garnish pasta with chopped parsley

    Penne pasta with salmon and vodka (Pennette al salmone affumicato e vodka)

    It translates as pennette pasta with smoked salmon and vodka. It’s and old Italian classic, very popular as a quick fix when you have friends around unexpectedly and you want to feed them. It’s a very simple dish, packed with flavour (if you like smoked salmon of course) and very easy to make. There are a few versions of the recipe some people like to add some halved cherry tomatoes into the sauce, at the very end, and others like to garnish the dish with different herbs. I personally like the minimalist version of the recipe, without tomatoes, and the only herb I use is parsley. A little word of advice this is a dish to be served quickly, when it is still piping hot, because the sauce has the tendency to dry quickly because of the cream.

    Ingredients (Metric & Imperial measurements)

    • 400 g (14 oz) Smooth pennette pasta (smooth quill pasta)
    • 40 g (1 1/2 oz) Butter
    • Half onion (pureed)
    • 1 tbs Tomato purée
    • 120 g (4 oz) Smoked salmon trimmings
    • 100 ml (4 fl oz) Vodka
    • 250 ml (1/2 pint) Single cream
    • A bunch of flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
    • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
    • These are Imperial and Metric measurements. U.S measurements available at

    Nutrition facts: Calories 650 per serving.

    Ingredients (U.S. measurements)

    • 14 ounces Smooth pennette pasta (smooth quill pasta)
    • 1 1/2 ounces Butter
    • Half onion (pureed)
    • 1 tablespoon Tomato purée
    • 4 ounces Smoked salmon trimmings
    • 7 tablespoons (just a bit more than 3/8 cup) Vodka
    • 17 tablespoons (just a bit more than 1 cup) Single cream
    • A bunch of flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
    • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

    Note: I deliberately don’t list the salt among the ingredients because the smoked salmon is already salty and the pasta is boiled in salty water.

    Roughly chop the onion and put it in the food processor.

    Process the onion, to make it like a purée.

    In a sauce pan, melt all the butter and then add the pureed onion.

    Sweat the onion off for a few minutes on gentle heat (3-4 minutes will be enough).

    Stir for a few seconds to evenly mix the tomato purée with the onion.

    Add the salmon trimming to the pan and raise the heat from gentle to medium.

    Break the salmon trimmings down with the wooden spoon and cook the salmon for a couple of minutes (keep stirring).

    Give it a quick stir. Now you have two options. You can either keep stirring until the vodka vapours have vanished (2-3 minutes) or you can flambé.

    If you chose to flambé, this is at your own peril! If it is the first time, check the internet first, watch some videos in youtube and be cautious. I ignited the alcohol with a chef torch and the flames suddenly appeared all over the pan. When the flames die down, continue with the recipe directions.

    Reverse to low heat and add some ground pepper if you like.

    Then, add the all the cream.

    Simmer for a few minutes to reduce the sauce. This stage will take roughly 10 minutes, giving you the time to boil the pasta. If the pasta is not ready and you notice that the sauce is reducing/drying too much, you can add half a ladle of the water you are using to boil the pasta, to loosen the sauce a bit, and continue simmering until the pasta is ready.

    Alternatively, you can remove the sauce from the heat and cover with a lid. When the pasta is ready, loosen the sauce with half a ladle of the water you used to boil the pasta and then coat the pasta with the sauce.

    Here, I am throwing the pennette pasta into the boiling water. Remember to cook the pasta al dente (firm to the bite).

    The pasta is ready, the sauce is reduced to the right consistency.

    Quickly add half of the parsley to the sauce.

    Finally, quickly drain the pasta (leaving the pasta slightly wet) and add the drained pasta into the sauce pan. Stir to make sure that all the pasta is coated with the sauce. When serving the pasta, you can garnish with a bit of extra parsley.

    Spaghetti integrali, tonno, limone e rucola

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    Preparation time

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    • 30 g di cipolla
    • 30 g di olio extravergine di oliva
    • 1 spicchio di aglio
    • 150 g di tonno in scatola a filetti
    • 20 g di succo di limone, spremuto fresco
    • 100 g di rucola fresca
    • 150 g di pomodori ciliegino in quarti
    • 1 pizzico di sale
    • 1 pizzico di pepe nero macinato
    • 320 g di spaghetti integrali


    1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper

    1 – 1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    2 generous cups baby arugula

    handful of fresh basil, chopped


    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.

    Just before draining, reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta (or be ready to lift the pasta into the prepared skillet using a pasta fork).

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pepper and cook 30 second to 1 minute, until toasted.

    Add the ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the drained pasta, and reduce the heat to low. (or lift it out of the boiling water with a pasta fork, adding it to the skillet)

    Add the parmesan , tossing until melted.

    Remove from the heat, add the arugula, toss until the greens are wilted and the sauce coats the pasta, adding in more pasta water if needed to thin the sauce.

    Transfer to a bowl, top with fresh basil, and serve. Enjoy!

    *This dish is wonderful when you substitute Tuscan Herb, Chipotle, or Wild Dill Olive Oils.

    Lemon Spaghetti

    Prep Time
    Cook Time
    Inactive Time
    Total Time


    • 2/3 cup olive oil
    • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • ½ cup fresh lemon juice from about 2 lemons
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste
    • 1 pound dried spaghetti
    • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
    • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest from about 2 lemons



    Tried this recipe? Mention @WPRecipeMaker or tag #wprecipemaker!

    Nut Free

    Have extra basil? Try these recipes:

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    By: Giada De Laurentiis

    Jul 21, 2017 | Total time: 190 minutes

    Bacon Cranberry Scones with Citrus Basil Butter

    By: Giada De Laurentiis

    Nov 10, 2018 | Total time: 35 minutes

    Lemon Spaghetti with Shrimp

    By: Giada De Laurentiis

    Sep 24, 2018 | Total time: 25 minutes

    Checca Sauce

    By: Giada De Laurentiis

    Aug 1, 2018 | Total time: 8 minutes

    This is a fast and easy recipe!

    I paired this with white fish and it was a nice complement - I'm not sure I'd want to eat this for a main course, but it depends on your mood.

    Goes without saying - you need to be a lemon-lover to like this recipe.

    Also - I was careful not to use too much EVOO based on other reviews. I did about a 1/4 cup of EVOO and juice from 2 lemons - still was a little too lemony and I should have been more careful with measuring the lemon juice.
    The grated parm cheese was perfect and the basil gives it a nice kick.

    I feel like this is the kind of recipe that is good, solid but could also really grow on you where you might have a craving for it ie: late at night. LOL.

    light and easy! What Capri wine would you suggest?
    If you use a good evoo and freshly grated parmigiano along with a couple of scoops of pasta water as directed, let it all sit at room temperature and keep whisking, your spaghetti will just absorb all the flavors!!

    May even pair it with some grilled shrimps next time!

    I tried it follow the recipe pasta was slimy wont attempt to cook again.

    Amazing recipe! Found the key to be adding the pasta water while it's still HOT because it melts the cheese. Love this recipe!!

    Usually Giada knocks it out of the park, but this was an oily mess and I only used 1/3 cup EVOO. The cheese was all congealed together- it was just bad. Also, I needed 3 lemons to even get close to the 1/2 cup. I might try this again but with only a couple of tablespoons of oil, less cheese. I added arugula at the end, which was pretty good, so I definitely suggest that! It might even be better chilled with arugula as more of a pasta salad. I hope this helps anyone who wants to try this recipe! I had high hopes. I saw other reviews said the oil was too much as well, so use as you see fit. :)

    Effortlessly amazing. I have made many lemon pasta dishes and this is by far the most simple. Although I prefer gigli pasta for this, to spaghettii. I also have made this often with red lentil pasta and it is fabulous with non-wheat pasta options. And I always sprinkle pinoli with the ribbons of fresh basil for a wonderful taste profile and heaps of healthful benefits.

    I had this at Giada Vegas and it had mascarpone in it. When is that added to the above recipe?

    The 2/3 Cup of olive oil was a little too much. I found 1/3 Cup or a little more along with the saved pasta cooking water was sufficient.

    Have used this as side dish to many other proteins (chicken, fish, pork). Also works for other shapes. Good sauce for pasta salad as it provides a nice base for the other ingredients

    NB . the poached chicken is served on the side with spaghetti, again with loads of lemon juice squeezed over.

    Hi from 🇨🇾Cyprus , we Cypriots have been cooking pasta with lemons forever. We poach a whole chicken about 1.5kgs simmering gently, for about 1hr 20 mins ,then with this stock we cook 🇨🇾 spaghetti, or artisan homemade macaroni . Served in a large platter with loads of grated halloumi, + anari-similar to ricotta salada , which is then mixed with crushed dried mint. and liberally sprinkled over pasta. 🍋🍋fresh lemon wedges ALWAYS served on the side to squeeze over individual servings or to taste. we use lemon in almost everything , try over fried eggs with fresh cracked pepper +Cypriot sea flakes,and liberal sprinklings of 🍋juice .. it’s very Cypriot .
    My Yiayia (nonna) always made homemade pasta with durum wheat, fresh macaroni, using a reed, or hand cut tagliatelles as we say in greek, you see, pasta making is an age old tradition of the past, going back for hundreds of years in time ,here in Cyprus, in fact our ancient wheat variety, made into flour was famous, and exported to Italy for use in pasta making.

    AWESOME and thank you Giadzy!✨We had this tonight fir dinner and it was delicious! A new favorite❤️ for our family❤️

    Fantastic! I make this once a week. I use less olive oil and more parm. Nice to add diced jumbo shrimp and/or asparagus to water 1 min before pasta is ready. Thank you, Giada!

    I make this and top with sautéd black pepper brussels sprouts and fresh parmesan! Yum!


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