Puttanesca pasta is a total comfort food of mine. It was always a favorite growing up, and whenever I make it I’m transported back to my mom’s kitchen. I love the contrasting flavors of the tomato sauce with olives and capers combined with fresh parsley. And if you can add some red pepper flakes, a little heat doesn’t hurt!
My mom never added canned salmon to her dish, but I do love adding it to mine. The mildness of the salmon blends perfectly with the briny olives (and the added protein is a plus!).
Nearly everything in this recipe can be found in your pantry and put together when you don’t have anything else planned for dinner. And the canned salmon is super budget-friendly, making this a quick and easy weeknight meal.
For This Recipe, You Will Need:
Penne rigate or other ridged tubular pasta
Extra-virgin olive oil
One big can of salmon (or 2-3 smaller cans)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Crushed red pepper
The Health Benefits of Salmon Puttanesca
Not only is Salmon Puttanesca tasty and easy to put together, it has a ton of good-for-you ingredients. Salmon is a great source of heart healthy omega-3 fats.
I recommend getting between 250-500 mg of omega-3 fats each day – which is super easy to do with this dish! Omega 3 fats like DHA help decrease inflammation, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer, and improve artery function. They are amazing for the heart! ❤️️
Parsley is Not Just a Pretty Face
Adding fresh parsley to your meals does more than just add a beautiful hit of green color. It also helps to increase the amounts of vitamins C, K, and A in the recipe. In addition, it adds a shot of powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce the risk of cancer, heart attack, and diabetes. Parsley also contains lutein, beta carotene, and zeaxanthin. These are three carotenoids that help to protect your eyes and promote healthy vision.
Other Hidden Gems in This Dish
While olives and capers are definitely flavorful additions, they also offer a host of health benefits! Olives are a great source of vitamin E as well as iron, copper, and calcium. Copper is actually often lacking in Western diets and a copper deficiency may increase your risk of heart disease.
Capers pack a TON of briny flavor without a lot of calories and fat. They also contain quercetin. This bioflavinoid has been shown to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and cardiac arrhythmia.
The Secrets to Making an Amazing Salmon Puttanesca
Here are my expert tips for making an amazing Salmon Puttanesca Pasta:
- Don’t overcook the pasta. The pasta will continue to cook as you finish the recipe, so if you overcook it to begin with, it will turn gummy and ruin the dish. Aim for al dente.
- Remember to save the pasta water. It seems unimportant, but reserving a little pasta water is KEY for making an amazing sauce.
- Be careful not to burn the garlic. Burnt garlic has a bitter flavor.
- Turn the heat off as soon as you add the parsley. This way it will still retain it’s bright green color. You can even chop a little extra to sprinkle on each bowl as garnish. And if you REALLY want to get fancy, add a small amount of sliced olives and a few capers to the top as well. We eat with our eyes and doing this gives the brain a teaser for what’s inside the dish.
Salmon Puttanesca Pasta
Salmon Puttanesca is a great recipe to have in your repertoire. Not only is it healthy and flavorful, but it comes together quickly from ingredients that you can keep in your pantry.
- ¾ pound penne rigate or other ridged tubular pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 14.75 oz can of canned salmon drained, pick bones and skin out if necessary
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes drained
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon drained capers rinsed and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta al dente (ie, don’t overcook it!). Drain, reserving 1 1/4 cups of the cooking water.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook until soft and aromatic. Then add the garlic and crushed red pepper, heat until the garlic is lightly browned.
- Add the canned tomatoes and cook until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes, then add 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and bring to a boil, gently crushing the tomatoes. Add the cooked pasta, olives and capers and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the liquid is slightly absorbed, about 2 minutes.
- Now add the salmon to the skillet and break it up into chunks. Cook, tossing, until the salmon is warmed through, about 2 minutes; add more of the pasta cooking water if the sauce is dry. Stir in the parsley, transfer the pasta to bowls and serve!