If you enjoy carbonara but ran out of bacon, we have a recipe for you! This Quick Smoked Mackerel Pasta is creamy, filling and has plenty of smokiness of the mackerel. Ready in 15 minutes, this is a wonderful weeknight dinner meal, and any leftovers make a great smoked mackerel pasta salad lunch the next day! Simple, inexpensive and easily scalable, this recipe is a winner on our table!
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Ingredients and Substitutions
- pasta: choose your favourite shape! Don’t worry about buying fresh pasta (or making your own pasta) – there is so much flavour in this recipe that a cheap and cheerful dried pasta packet can be justified!
- red onion: substitute with shallots or brown onion.
- sour cream or creme fraiche: either will work just fine. We used sour cream on this occasion.
- vegetable stock cube: adds seasoning to the dish, but don’t go overboard, as smoked mackerel is rather salty itself.
- baby spinach
- smoked mackerel: more on it below.
- red chilli flakes: adds another colour and a bit of heat to the dish.
- chives: is best substituted with spring onion, but fresh dill or even parsley will go well in this mackerel pasta recipe.
The Best Smoked Mackerel For This Pasta Recipe
There are many choices when it comes to buying smoked mackerel in the shops. You can get many flavours, including peppered mackerel, lime and coriander, or even sweet chilli-flavoured fillets. For this recipe, we encourage you to get a simple plain hot smoked mackerel. The smoky saltiness of mackerel fillets will add all the flavour that you will need!
Start by cooking the pasta following the packet instructions. It normally takes about 10 minutes to cook.
In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. Add the chopped onions and sautee them for 5-6 minutes on low-medium heat until softened. Whilst the onions are cooking, remove the skins from your smoked mackerel and tear the flesh it into bite-size flakes.
Reduce the heat and add the juice of half a lemon (adding lemon at this stage will bring out the beautiful bright colour of red onions). Add the sour cream (or creme fraiche) and stir for a minute. Then crumble in ¼ of a stock cube and, using a ladle, take about 100ml of the water that the pasta is cooking in and add it to the creme fraiche sauce. Stir again. Leave the sauce to simmer on low heat until the pasta is almost ready.
A minute before you drain the pasta, stir the spinach into the sauce and leave it to wilt.
Tip the drained pasta into the sauce and stir to coat. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flakes of the smoked mackerel. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Garnish the dish with lemon zest and snipped chives.
Fancy Homemade Pasta For This Dish?
I know, we said that this pasta recipe is so flavoursome, that you absolutely don’t need to put in the extra effort in making your own pasta! And we stand by this statement.
But if you love making pasta, and have some extra time on your hands, making pasta at home, can be a nice and relaxing activity. Read all about the different pasta dough recipes and pasta shapes in our All About Homemade Pasta article.
What To Serve Mackerel Pasta With?
This pasta recipe leaves little to be desired so you don’t necessarily need any side dishes to make it better, but some healthier vegetable sides are always welcome on our table. And if your family and friends are hungry, serve it with:
Leftovers make a wonderful lunch the next day! If your pasta is looking a little dry, add a tablespoon of sour cream or mayo and mix it in to create a creamy smoked mackerel pasta salad. Serve it on a bed of fresh spinach for extra nutrition!
Other Quick Pasta Recipes
We all enjoy a quick and easy pasta dish on a weeknight, right? And there’s no need to buy any jars of pasta sauce from the shop to have an effortless meal that comes together in under half an hour. Here are some of our favourite quick pasta recipes:
- Prawn Pasta with Herbs From the Garden
- Creamy Chicken and Bacon Pasta
- Green Pasta (Pea & Spinach Pasta)
- Smoked Salmon & Spinach Pasta
- Penne Pesto Pasta (Vegetarian Recipe)
- 15-Minute Red Pesto Pasta With Prawns
- Tagliatelle Pasta with Feta, Broccoli & Fried Lemon
Quick Smoked Mackerel Pasta
- 200 g pasta
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- ½ lemon zest and juice
- 150 g sour cream or creme fraiche
- ¼ vegetable stock cube
- 100 g baby spinach
- 150 g smoked mackerel skin discarded
- a pinch of red chilli flakes to garnish
- a few chives to garnish
- Cook pasta following the packet instructions.
- In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. Add the chopped onions and sautee them for 5-6 minutes on low-medium heat until softened.
- Reduce the heat and add the juice of half a lemon. Add the sour cream (or creme fraiche) and stir for a minute. Then crumble in ¼ of a stock cube and add about 100ml of the water that the pasta is cooking in and stir again. Leave the sauce to simmer on low heat until the pasta is almost ready.
- A minute before you drain the pasta, stir the spinach into the sauce and leave it to wilt.
- Tip the drained pasta into the sauce and stir to coat. Take the pan off the heat and stir in flakes of the smoked mackerel.
- Garnish the dish with lemon zest and snipped chives.