Salmon Rigatoni in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

Overhead image of creamy tomato salmon and rigatoni in a blue cast iron pan on a wooden table. There is a dish of grated parmesan at the top of the image.

A quick and easy weeknight meal that always goes down a treat!
This is my way of making 3 salmon fillets stretch to feed four people (you could even use two if you throw some extra vegetables in there).
It’s all ready and on the table in 20 minutes.

Overhead image of creamy tomato salmon and rigatoni in a blue cast iron pan on a wooden table. There is a dish of grated parmesan at the top of the image.
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A fantastic way to get the family eating fish, this salmon dish feels like a real treat.
It tastes perfect the way it is, but it’s also a great base dish to use – so you can add in extras – such as hot sauce, mushrooms, prawns and peppers.

📋 What do we need?

Ingredients for creamy tomato salmon rigatoni on a wooden table
  • Salmon – use skin-on or skinless salmon (it’s easy to remove the skin during cooking).
  • Pasta – use your favourite pasta shape
  • Passata – I’m using passata in this recipe for a smooth sauce. If you’re in the USA, Passata is the same as tomato puree. It’s a medium-thick sauce (about the consistency of double/heavy cream) made of 100% tomatoes. If you can’t get hold of it you can replace with the same amount of finely chopped or crushed tinned/canned tomatoes – you will just need to simmer the sauce for a few minutes longer.
  • Tomato puree – this is tomato paste if you’re in the USA

📺 Watch how to make it

Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

👩‍🍳PRO TIP Be sure to save some of the water when you drain the pasta. The pasta water can bee added to the finished dish to loosen up the sauce to your liking.

I love to sprinkle with grated parmesan, black pepper and some fresh baby basil leaves.

Close up of creamy tomato salmon rigatoni in a pan, topped with a sprinkling of basil leaves.

🍽️ What to serve it with

I love how that creamy tomato sauce clings to the pasta. You know it’s going to be full of flavour.

Overhead image of a plate of creamy tomato salmon pasta on a wooden table. There are basil leaves and a dish of grated parmesan around the plate.

If you prefer long pasta, I also have a spaghetti version of this recipe, with a little added courgetti (zoodles).

🍲 More fantastic Pasta recipes

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Square image of rigatoni and salmon in creamy tomato sauce in a blue cast iron pan on a wooden table.

Salmon Rigatoni in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

20-minute Salmon Rigatoni in Creamy Tomato Sauce – A quick and easy weeknight meal that makes 3 salmon fillets easily feed four people.

Prep Time 5 mins

Cook Time 15 mins

Total Time 20 mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine British

Servings 4 servings

Calories 596 kcal


  • Cook the pasta as per the pack instructions, then drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

    400 g (14oz) rigatoni

  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat.

    2 tbsp olive oil

  • Season the salmon fillets with the salt and pepper. Place in the pan skin-side-up.

    3 pieces of boneless salmon (approx 400g/14oz), ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper

  • Fry the salmon for 3 minutes, until golden, then turn the salmon over and move it to one side of the pan.

  • Add the onions to the space left in the pan. Cook on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.

    1 medium onion (or 2 small onions)

  • Stir in the minced garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds.

    2 garlic cloves

  • Add in the passata, tomato puree, dried thyme, and sugar. Stir together and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

    500 g (17.5 oz) passata, 1 tbsp tomato puree (paste), ½ tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp sugar

  • Turn the salmon over in the frying pan. Remove the skin using a set of tongs and discard.

  • Break up the salmon using the back of a fork into chunky pieces.

  • Stir the 3 tbsp of cream into the sauce.

    3 tbsp double (heavy) cream

  • Add the cooked pasta to the pan along with a good splash (about ¼ cup) of the pasta cooking water.

  • Stir the pasta into the sauce, distributing the pieces of salmon amongst the pasta.

  • Add more of the pasta cooking water if you want to loosen up the sauce further (optional).

  • Divide the pasta between bowls and top with a little grated parmesan, black pepper and a sprinkling of fresh basil leaves.

    Grated parmesan cheese, black pepper, Fresh basil

✎ Notes

Can I make it ahead?
This dish tastes best when cooked and eaten right away, but if you did want to make it ahead, then cook the dish, quickly cool, cover and refrigerate.
Reheat in a pan over a medium heat with a lid or foil on for about 10 minutes or so. You’ll need to move it around the pan a couple of times with a set of tongs and you may need to add a splash of water to loosen up the sauce – cook until piping hot throughout.
Ingredient swaps

  • Swap the rigatoni for your favourite pasta shapes.
  • Swap the salmon for trout or king prawns if you fancy a change
  • Add in extra vegetables – such as mushrooms, peppers or sugar snap peas, when you add in the garlic.
  • Stir in a handful of grated parmesan or cheddar when you add in the pasta.
  • Add a pinch of chilli flakes for a bit of heat.

Nutritional information is approximate, per serving (this recipe serves 4) NOT including the serving suggestions of parmesan, pepper and basil.


Calories: 596kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 33gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 240mgPotassium: 1409mgFiber: 6gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 967IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 5mg

Keywords Alfredo Pasta Bake, Salmon, what to cook with salmon

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

Hi I’m Nicky

I love to cook and I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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