This speedy smoked mackerel pasta in a delicious creme fraiche and spinach sauce is the perfect last-minute dinner recipe. Ready in just 15 minutes, this creamy mackerel pasta is a tasty smoky treat that makes it so easy to get more fish into your diet.
I am a fan of any kind of smoked fish and mackerel is one of my favourites, right up there with smoked salmon. This mackerel pasta recipe is the embodiment of everything that's great with smoked fish as it's full of flavour and made healthier by using creme fraiche instead of double (heavy) cream.
You can make this pasta with smoked mackerel or tinned mackerel — I make it both ways depending on what I have, and it's delicious either way.
The creamy pasta is tossed in a lemony creme fraiche sauce that has just a bit of a kick from red chilli flakes. It's just the perfect recipe to cook when you're out of ideas and time.
What ingredients do you need?
To make this smoked mackerel pasta, you're going to need the following ingredients:
Mackerel — Smoked mackerel is great for this recipe because it pairs wonderfully with lemon and spinach. However, if you only have tinned mackerel, this shouldn't stop you from making the pasta. You can also use hot smoked mackerel fillets if you want the pasta to be more fiery.
Shallots — I use shallots for recipes like this because they're milder than onion. Red onion is another great option here.
Lemon — This pasta sauce is really lemony, as I use both the zest and juice of half a lemon to make it. If you're not a fan of lemon sauces, you can reduce the quantity or use just the zest.
Creme fraiche — I use creme fraiche instead of double cream in this pasta not just because it's lighter than double cream but also because it's slightly sour and pairs great with the smoked fish and lemon.
Spinach — Baby spinach is the best choice here because it only takes 1-2 minutes to wilt.
Pasta — I generally make this recipe with fusilli to another kind of short pasta, but absolutely any type of pasta would work.
How to make smoked mackerel pasta?
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the package. Don't forget to reserve some pasta water before draining. I typically reserve 4-5 ladles for any pasta recipe I make because you never know how much you're going to need.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the shallot for 3-4 minutes over medium heat until softened.
Stir in the red chilli flakes, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and cook for a further 30 seconds. Next, add the creme fraiche and stir until melted and combined. Add the vegetable stock, stir again, then add the baby spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until wilted.
Stir in the smoked mackerel, and then add the pasta to the pan. Toss it well until covered in sauce, stir in the parsley, and season to taste. Serve with some extra fresh parsley on top if you like.
Extra tips on how to make the perfect creamy smoked fish pasta
- Don't overcook the sauce because it will continue to thicken as it cools down. If it already looks too thick when you add the pasta, add a bit of pasta water to get to your preferred consistency.
- Cook the pasta al dente, which is typically 1 minute less than what is mentioned in the instructions on the package. The pasta will continue to cook in the sauce, and you don't want it to be mushy.
- You can use double (heavy) cream instead of creme fraiche to make the sauce even richer and creamier.
If you liked this smoked mackerel pasta, have a look at some of my other quick and easy pasta recipes:
- 250 g (8.8 oz) pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- ¼ teaspoon red chilli flakes
- Zest of half a lemon
- Juice of half a lemon
- 200 g (1 cup) creme fraiche
- 200 ml (1 cup) vegetable stock
- 100 g (3.5 oz) baby spinach
- 150 g (5.3 oz) smoked mackerel, shredded
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the package. Reserve some pasta water before draining.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the shallot for 3-4 minutes over medium heat until softened.
- Stir in the red chilli flakes, lemon zest and lemon juice and cook for a further 30 seconds. Next, add the creme fraiche and stir until melted and combined. Add the vegetable stock, stir again, then add the baby spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until wilted.
- Stir in the smoked mackerel and then add the pasta to the pan. Toss it well until covered in sauce, stir in the parsley, and season to taste. Serve with some extra fresh parsley on top if you like.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 483Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 386mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 15g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.