Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pasta con Pesce Spada (Pasta with Swordfish)

Swordfish or Xiphias Gladius is a migratory predatory fish known for its long bill that looks like a sword.  It is very popular in restaurants, which resulted in overfishing in some parts.  However, in the North Atlantic, along with the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii, the swordfish is abundant, with sizeable stocks that are within the acceptable range for the sustainability of a fish. 

To me, the white flesh of swordfish does not have any "fishy taste" or, for that matter, much taste at all.  However, marinades and sauces can provide a lot of flavor that will go well with the texture of the fish.  I found a Sicilian recipe for pasta with swordfish that uses a sauce made from onions, garlic, tomatoes, and mint.  I modified the recipe a little by adding some crushed red pepper to add some heat to that sauce.  

Whenever I make a dish of a particular type of cuisine or culture, I try to make sure that I use the ingredients that they would use.  For example, this recipe calls for "vino bianco" or white wine.  I looked for a Sicilian white wine, but I could not find one.  So, I used a wine from the neighboring region of Campania.  The wine was a Falanghina wine, which worked well with this recipe and also was a great wine to serve with this dish.

Adapted from Think Sicily
Serves 2

1 pound of swordfish, cut into even sized, small cubes
1 3/4 cup of penne rigata
1 can of whole tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 onion, diced
18 mint leaves, chiffonade
A pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons of white wine
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1.  Saute the onions and garlic.  Add the olive oil to a saute pan on medium heat and add the onion and garlic.  Saute the onion until it is soft and translucent, about eight minutes. 

2. Saute the swordfish and make the sauce.  Turn up the heat and add the swordfish.  Saute the swordfish until it is brown, about five to eight minutes.  Sprinkle the swordfish with the white wine and turn the heat down.  Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and  about half of the mint.  Continue to cook the sauce for about ten to fifteen minutes.

3.  Cook the pasta.  While the sauce is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta to the boiling water.  Cook the pasta until it is "al dente," and then drain it.  Add the pasta to the sauce and mix it well. 

4.  Plate the dish.  Plate the pasta in a bowl and add some of the reserved mint on top.


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