November 7, 2011
Marisa has generously allowed me to share one of her recipes with you: Swordfish with Pasta and Mint. Note that there are several alternatives for the swordfish in this recipe (see below); I substituted scallops.
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
400g (14oz) fish, in 4cm (1½in) pieces
500g (17½oz) rigatoni or other short ribbed, tubular pasta
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup white wine
10–15 mint leaves
300g (10½oz) formaggio fresco, diced (or fresh pecorino, mozzarella or bocconcini)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Mint is not a common herb in the rest of Italy and generally most unexpected in a pasta dish anywhere but Sicily. When I first ate a version of this in Sicily in the 1980s, it was made with pesce spada (swordfish). Since then I have cooked it many times using sustainable fish (pesce sostenibile). It’s particularly good with dense-textured fish. I use albacore tuna, mackerel, rockling or flathead. Shellfish also enhances the sweetness.
Heat the olive oil, add the fish and lightly seal it. Cook the pasta. Add the garlic, wine, 4–5 mint leaves and seasoning to the fish. Cover and cook gently until the fish is ready. Combine the pasta, fish, cheese and mint leaves (large leaves cut into smaller pieces) and serve.
*Add a few slices of zucchini lightly fried in extra virgin olive oil (cooked separately and added at the end). Add any juices from the zucchini.
*Add pistachio nuts to complement the sweet taste and the green of the mint and zucchini.