Just In Time For the Weekend, Veronica Hendrix Is Back With A Very Happy Pasta Recipe

Collard Greens and Caviar food blogger and LA-based journalist, Veronica Hendrix is here just in time for the weekend! Listen along as Hendrix takes us through making her Happy Penne Pasta with Grilled Salmon. As Hendrix always says, "cook fearlessly!"

If there is one food that makes me deliriously happy, it’s a pasta dish.

I love pasta. 

What more can I say. 

I love pasta made any way.

I love pasta shapes that cling to the sauce.

I love pasta shapes that swirl in my mouth.

My Penne Pasta with Grilled Salmon recipe is a real winner.

It’s better than any chicken dinner.

Well enough with the schoolhouse rhymes. This family-style recipe is a great addition to your repertoire. The delicate sauce is delicious and tasty. The grilled salmon makes it a filling, one-skillet meal that is great for Sunday dinner, special occasions, or just because you like pasta.

I hope you enjoy what I would say is my favorite go-to recipe because I always have the ingredients on hand and ready to deploy for a quick family dinner, or when unexpected guests arrive hungry carrying a bottle of Pinot – which they have been known to do because they know I am always cooking up something.

Bon appétit!

Grilled Salmon Penne Pasta

Penne Pasta with Grilled Salmon

Ingredients For salmon

2 pounds of salmon filets, skin removed

Cajun Seasoning

Olive oil 

Ingredients For pasta

1 pound Penne pasta

2 can fire-roasted tomatoes (do not drain)

1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

½ medium red onions, chopped

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cracked black pepper to taste

Fresh basil leaves  

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

How to make the grilled salmon

Wash and pat dry fish. 

Drizzle a little olive oil on both sides of fish and season each side with your favorite seasoning or spice rub. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add fish fillets, and cook 2 minutes on both sides to brown. Remove from heat. Place fish on a baking sheet and place in oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. 

After 10 minutes, remove from oven to cool. 


How to make pasta sauce

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet set at medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until tender and translucent about 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula.

Add chopped garlic and sauté until fragrant, just under a minute.

Add both cans of fire-roasted tomatoes, Kalamata olives, chopped red onion, ¼ cup olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, and cracked pepper (to taste). Mix well.

With a potato smasher, mash tomatoes in the skillet until all the tomato pieces are crushed.

Turn up heat to bring mixture to a gentle boil. Then cover with a lid and reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to directions until al dente - meaning it is firm and not overcooked. 

Chef tip: make sure to add 1 tablespoon of salt to the pasta water. This is your only chance to thoroughly favor the pasta.

When the pasta is done, drain it in the sink, but reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.

Add cooked pasta to sauce in the skillet and mix well. Add half of the pasta water to loosen sauce. Add more if necessary.


Bringing it all together

Break the cooled salmon filets into generous pieces and place the pieces of fish on top of the pasta. 

Serve with torn fresh basil leaves and Parmesan cheese grated over the entire pan or on separate servings, if desired. 

Vegan option: top pasta pan-grilled asparagus and grilled corn.


Make sure to keep up with all of Veronica's recipes and more on Instagram @collardgreenscaviar