Cheesy comfort food, this salmon pasta bake recipe inspired by my childhood is a brilliant family friendly recipe. It's easy to make ahead and the leftovers taste great too!
Sometimes you want to try and recreate a favourite childhood dish but with a few twists. That is exactly what I did with this cheesy salmon pasta bake. The dish in question is my mum's macaroni fish pie, a dish made with a mixture of fish, pasta and mushrooms, baked in the oven in a cheesy sauce. As a child I used to be so happy when that was on the table for tea.
Even today I love it when my mum makes it for me. Unfortunately that is not very often as I usually have my husband with me, who doesn't share my love of cheesy fish pies. He would say he has more sophisticated tastes. I would say I have an appreciation of a wider range of foods. It's an argument we're never going to win!
Can you adapt this salmon pasta bake?
Even though it's a classic recipe in my mum's house, she does like to vary it occasionally. In my mum's pasta bake, the mushrooms are a more recent addition. An addition I'm happy with. When I'm not there, she likes to use smoked haddock too, but I find it a little strong and so prefer white fish, salmon or a mixture.
This time, I chose to add layer of spinach to the bottom of the dish as the vegetable component. However in retrospect, I think I prefer mushrooms. I'd be happy to miss out the spinach layer. Or maybe have a spinach salad on the side?
You could add a lot more vegetables to this but I think serving them as a side dish is better. If you add too many extras you would need to increase the quantities of the sauce.
I often use nutmeg in the sauce but you can use paprika instead to add a touch of spice.
So, given the choice, would I choose mine or my mum's pie? For now, my mum's. But with a few mushrooms instead of spinach, I'd be spoilt for choice.
Can you freeze this salmon pasta bake?
This salmon pasta bake is a great recipe for batch cooking. You can prepare it in advance and then freeze it for up to 3 months wrapped in cling film ready to defrost and bake later.
If you just have leftovers then they keep well in the fridge for a couple of days and can be microwaved or reheated in the oven until piping hot.
Salmon Pasta Bake Recipe
Salmon Pasta Bake
- 200 g pasta
- 50 g butter
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 500 ml milk
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 100 g strong cheddar grated
- Pinch salt
- Pinch black pepper
- 6 tbsp wilted spinach
- 200 g salmon cut into cubes
- Preheat the oven to 190C
- Cook the pasta for about 5 minutes then drain.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and keep stirring for at least 2 minutes, being careful that it doesn't burn.
- Start adding the milk. Add a little at a time and keep stirring quickly so it makes a smooth sauce. If you add too much at once it will go lumpy.
- Take the sauce off the heat. Add the nutmeg, season and stir in the grated cheese. Then stir in the pasta.
- Spread the wilted spinach on the bottom of the dish. Cut the fish into cubes. Put on top of the spinach. Top with the pasta and sauce.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. The dish should be piping hot and bubbling when it is ready.
- Serve with lots of salad.
More fish recipes
I love cooking with fish and if you're looking for fish bakes then I can definitely recommend this Brazilian fish bake or rosemary roasted garlic salmon. I also like to serve fish with a simple caper butter sauce or with this lemon and garlic samphire.
More pasta recipes
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Do let me know if you make this salmon pasta bake. I love to get feedback from readers.
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