Sometimes it’s difficult to explain why I choose the meals I do each week.  This meal happened to pop up in a list of Spring pasta dishes I was looking at on the Martha Stewart website last week.  The list itself intrigued me since finding lighter pasta dishes that do not highlight lemon (since Kyle doesn’t love lemon nearly as much as I do) seems to be difficult. This wasn’t one of the typical light and Springy dishes but boy did it sound good!  And truthfully, it was just as good as it sounded! The leeks give a nice undertone of onion flavor and were a really nice complement to the white beans and sage. I loved the idea of mashing up some of the white beans to thicken the sauce instead of using a butter-flour roux and this helped to keep the dish on the lighter side.  I’m sure you could serve this pasta as a meal itself with maybe a side salad but we decided to pair it with broiled salmon (instructions below) and ate the pasta as a side dish.  What a way to increase our healthy fat intake than with a beautiful piece of salmon!

Fettuccine with Leeks and White Beans + Broiled Salmon

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


For the fettuccine:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks, sliced and cleaned, white parts only
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 12 oz whole wheat fettuccine
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh parsley, (optional)

For the salmon:

  • 1 lb fresh boneless salmon fillet, cut into 4 oz filets
  • 1 1/2 tsp canola oil
  • Italian herb seasoning (I like Penzey's Tuscan Sunset)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. To make the fettuccine: In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add leeks, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add beans, broth, and sage to pan; with a potato masher, mash about one third of beans. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until sauce has thickened but is still soupy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions suggest. Drain.
  4. Add lemon juice to sauce. Stir in cream and Parmesan. Add pasta; cook, stirring, until heated through, 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley and more Parmesan, if desired.
  5. To make the salmon: While the sauce cooks, turn the oven to broiler. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  6. Place fillets on the parchment-lined baking sheet, skin-side down. Drizzle canola oil over each of the salmon fillets and gently rub the oil into the fish. Sprinkle with Italian herb seasoning, salt and pepper.
  7. Broil for 8-12 minutes depending on the size of the fillets until the fish is firm and starting to turn translucent from the bottom up. Remove from oven when fully cooked and remove the skin before serving.


source: adapted from Everyday Food, April 2005; salmon is a Smells Like Home original

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  • April 20, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    I love the idea to mash up the beans like this! This dish looks like it’s exuding spring…and flavor!