Creamy pesto noodles are one of my favorites, and typically I prefer to use pistachios to pine nuts. You can find my pistachio pesto recipe here. I decided to try go get in all those flavors here in a different way. Pistachios and olive oil coming in on the crusted salmon, and parmigiano reggiano and basil in the noodles. I notably did not use a lot of basil here, as I used what I had fresh from the garden, but you could certainly add a lot more! Garlic cooks into the roux we use as our sauce base along with salt & pepper to bring it all home. We get all the pesto ingredients deconstructed into this dish and let me tell ya, it. is. delicious.
The week I made this recipe was a week where I lived like a vision of health, green smoothies, veggie sautees, daily pilates… you get the drill. By the time Friday night rolled around I was ready for a splurge. I love meals like this that are rich and satisfy that carb craving, but use all whole and real ingredients. Homemade sauce always beats store bought, in both flavor and lack of additives and adding in a nice lean protein and some nuts helps keep you feeling full and of course brings in some nutrition to the meal. As always, I’ll keep this short as I know you’re here for the recipe, so let’s get to it!
Make sure to read recipe notes at bottom of recipe. There will be leftover sauce, which I like to use for meals later in the week (don’t refrigerate longer than a week). If you want to take this from 2-4 servings, easily add more salmon, pistachios, mayo & noodles and the sauce will be perfect for 4 people with no leftovers.
Creamy Parmesan Basil Noodles with Pistachio Crusted Salmon
- Large pot for boiling noodles.
- Small saucepan.
- Baking dish for salmon.
- 2 salmon filets
- 2/3 cup pistachios, shelled
- 2 tsp mayonaisse
- 6 oz spaghetti noodles (Or pasta of choice)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2/3 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
- 1 handful basil leaves
- salt, pepper, evoo
- Preheat oven to 450'
- Start a large pot of water to boil.
- Lay salmon on a foil lined baking sheet, skin down. Spread a thin layer of mayo across the top. Process pistachios in a food processor until finely chopped and press into even layer on top of salmon. Use an olive oil mister or drizzle olive oil over top of salmon. If using unsalted pistachios, option to sprinkle a pinch of salt & pepper over each for taste.
- Add noodles to boiling water and cook until al dente, every noodle is different so I encourage you to use package instructions or taste test until desired texture! Drain noodles when they are done and set aside in your strainer.
- Add salmon to oven and cook 6-8 minutes until pistachios start to golden and toast on top. Remove from oven when done and set aside.
- While noodles boil and salmon bakes start your sauce. In a small saucepan add minced garlic and butter over medium heat until melted. As soon as melted add in your flour and quickly whisk until an even paste forms. Pour in your milk and turn heat to high, whisking until fully combined. As soon as you start to boil, add in your parmesan cheese and turn heat to low, stirring in and allowing sauce to thicken. I used an immersion blender to add in basil, pinch of salt & pepper (add as much as you want of these 3 ingredients to taste). You could also just finely chop basil and stir in at end if you don't want to blend.
- Add cooked noodles back to their pot and pour in sauce slowly, stirring until noodles are evenly coated. Layer noodles in a bowl and top with salmon. Slice salmon if desired.
- If cooking for just two like I was, you will have extra sauce.. you can store in fridge for a few days to use again. It will not freeze well. Easily increase the servings to four by just adding extra salmon & pistachios and more noodles.
- You can use regular grated parmesan if you have on hand. I prefer parmigiano reggiano as it is what I use for pesto which inspired this dish, but regular parmesan would be great!
- The amount of spaghetti you make is really personal choice, we were starving while making this one up so made a full 8 oz for two, which is a very filling serving. Use a little less than 8 oz for a more moderate portion.