Pasta with smoked salmon and cream cheese

A dish that never fails to impress!

Quick and easy to prepare, it only takes a moderate amount of smoked salmon to make this delicious pasta dish that never fails to impress. As with many culinary endeavours, the better the quality of the salmon, the more flavourful your dish will be, although I’ve used those frozen packages from the supermarket with good results! This dish is fabulous with a garden salad and a glass or two of cold white wine.



  • 1 pound (454 grams) uncooked penne or other large pasta
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) room-temperature cream cheese, cut into 8 – 10 pieces
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) Dijon
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) smoked salmon in 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) slices
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, stems removed, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) capers, drained
  • 4 green onions (green parts only) or a handful of chives, sliced
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • lemon wedges


  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt while it heats up. This will season the pasta while it cooks.
  • Add pasta and cook, uncovered, just until the pasta is cooked through but still chewy.  Stir it occasionally while it cooks.
  • Scoop out 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water then drain the pasta but not completely, leaving it  a bit wet.
  • While pasta cooks, combine the lemon juice and zest with the Dijon and set aside.
  • Immediately return the pasta to the cooking pot along with half of the reserved starchy water. Add  the cream cheese and lemon juice mixture to the pasta, stirring gently to combine so that the hot pasta melts the cream cheese.
  • Add more of the reserved cooking water as needed to ensure the creamy sauce coats the pasta well.
  • Add the salmon, dill, capers and green onions or chives, stirring very gently to combine.
  • Season to taste with pepper and serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.

Serves 4 – 6. Leftovers reheat beautifully with a little added milk, cream or water.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

7 thoughts

  1. This was delicious Paula!! I am making it again for a lunch party and was wondering what your tips were for reheating it. I might make most of it in advance and perhaps add the salmon after reheating the pasta and sauce?? Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Hi Heather – so glad you enjoyed it! While you can add a little cream to the dish and microwave to warm, it’s not nearly as good as the first time. For a better reheating strategy, I’d cook the pasta only part way (so it’s about 75% cooked) then drain, put in a zip lock bag and chill it until serving time. The rest of the ingredients can be prepped and waiting in the fridge. Just before serving, put the pasta back into a pot of boiling water and cook for just a couple of minutes until it is fully cooked (but still al dente) and really hot. Then proceed to assemble the dish per the recipe. Good luck! xo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.