Creamy Light Pasta with Salmon, Asparagus and Dill

20 mins
15 mins
5 to 6 servings

This creamy light pasta is not only light in calories, but also light in feel. Lowfat evaporated milk with rich chicken broth, flavored with garlic and Parmesan, and thickened with a little butter and flour to produce a full-bodied sauce. If you buy a whole side of salmon, cut it into fillets, reserving the thin tail end for pasta dishes like this one.


  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound dried pasta
  • 3 cups asparagus, tough ends snapped, spears cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 12 ozs. salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


Bring 2 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large soup kettle. Add pasta and, using the time given on the package as a guide, cook, partially covered and stirring frequently at first to prevent sticking, until just tender. Add asparagus during last 5 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, microwave broth, evaporated milk, and garlic in a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or small microwave-safe bowl until steamy hot, 3 to 4 minutes; let stand for a couple of minutes.

Place butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over low heat. When butter melts, whisk in flour, then hot milk mixture all at once, whisking constantly until sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan, salmon, lemon zest and dill. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. (Salmon will flake into bite-sized pieces as it cooks.)

Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Pour cream sauce over pasta, adding enough reserve cooking liquid to moisten. Toss and serve immediately with a light sprinkling of Parmesan.

TIP: If you have any leftover pasta, pour it onto a baking sheet to cool quickly, then refrigerate. Save any remaining pasta cooking liquid to toss with pasta when reheating. (Leftover pasta can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. To reheat, microwave on high or warm over low heat, stirring in enough water or reserved pasta cooking liquid to make it creamy again.)

Recipe and image courtesy of Pam Anderson, author of The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great (2008).

Baker's Comments

Nutritional Information

  • Serving Size
    1/5 to 6 servings of recipe
  • Calories 450
  • Calories from Fat 70

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

% Daily Value *

  • Total Fat 8g 12%
  • Saturated Fat 4g 20%
  • Cholesterol 25mg 8%
  • Sodium 590mg 25%
  • Carbohydrates 71g 24%
  • Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
  • Sugars 8g
  • Protein 21g
  • Vitamin A 20%
  • Vitamin C 10%
  • Calcium 20%
  • Iron 25%

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