Pesto Orecchiette with Spinach and Smoked Salmon

You'll never believe this fancy-looking pasta dinner cooks in the same pot AND in only 20 minutes. A fresh squeeze of lemon is the perfect finish to this easy pasta dish.

Pesto Orecchiette with Spinach and Smoked Salmon in large oval serving platter
Photo: Brie Passano
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Stand Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
5 cups


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)

  • 8 ounce dried orecchiette pasta

  • 1 14.5 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup water

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 4 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped

  • 4 ounce smoked salmon (not lox-style), flaked

  • 2 - 3 tablespoon purchased basil pesto

  • Lemon wedges


  1. In a 3- to 4-qt. pot heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until softened. Stir in the next four ingredients (through salt). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.

  2. Remove from heat. Stir in the spinach, salmon, and pesto. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

DIY Pesto

Have fresh basil on hand? Make the pesto for this pasta yourself and it will be extra delicious. In a food processor combine 1½ cups packed fresh basil leaves, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, ½ cup toasted pine nuts, ¿ cup olive oil, 2 to 4 peeled and halved garlic cloves, and ½ tsp. salt. Cover and process until nearly smooth, adding additional oil (about 2 Tbsp.) to reach desired consistency.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

230 Calories
8g Fat
32g Carbs
10g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 230
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 546mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 20.2mg 101%
Calcium 48mg 4%
Iron 2.4mg 13%
Potassium 132mg 3%
Folate, total 39.8mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.7mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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