Pasta is a great ingredient for preparing quick and delicious meals and is a real treat to make for someone special.
Spaghetti with swordfish, capers and cherry tomatoes is a tasty first course to enjoy before your non-pasta secondo (like we Italians eat it), or as a solitary main dish, fast and easy to prepare. My guests (Lake Como) always love it. It is made of fresh and flavorful ingredients from Sicily, land of sea, sun and an extraordinary food tradition. Since Italy is a country with thousands of miles of coast, it is understandable that fish is a big part of our diet.
This particular pasta sauce blends the delicate taste of sword fish with the intense flavor of the capers, either the edible flower buds or the fruit (cucunci in Italian, pronounced cu-CUN-chi) of a Mediterranean plant found in rocky terrain. The best capers, the ones I love with my Martini (!) and like to use in my recipes, are the cucunci from the Pantelleria and Salina islands, which are preserved either in salt or vinegar. They are used to season or garnish salads, pizza, pasta sauces, meat dishes and fish dishes.
SPAGHETTI AL PESCE SPADA E CAPPERI (SPAGHETTI WITH SWORDFISH AND CAPERS)
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 7-8 minutes Servings: 4-6
340 g (12 oz) spaghetti
400-450 g (about 1 pound) swordfish fillet
450 g (1 pound) cherry or datterini tomatoes
90 g (½ cup) capers (sotto sale, preserved in salt)
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil (Extra Virgin)
80 ml (⅓ cup) dry white wine
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped or dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and set aside
- Remove the stem from the cucunci capers (the flower bud capers are stem free)
- Wash the capers under running water to remove the salt and set aside
- Wash and dry the fish filet with paper towel. Remove skin and dice
- Drop the pasta in boiling water at this time (see below)
- In nonstick skillet on medium-high heat sautè the garlic with olive oil until light browned. Remove the garlic and add the fish filet. Cook for 2 minutes on high heat, add the wine and let evaporate
- Add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes
- Add the capers and fresh ground pepper to taste
- While you are cooking the sauce bring to boil a large pot of salted water, cook the spaghetti al dente (for about 7-8 minutes, read the exact cooking time on the package). Before draining the pasta, reserve 3 tablespoons of cooking water. Drain and transfer the pasta to the skillet. Add the water and mix gently. Before serving garnish with the parsley or oregano.
Note: If you cannot find capers from Pantelleria, make sure to choose the biggest ones you can find, as they taste better and make a better visual impact in the sauce. You can also substitute the spaghetti with linguine, a flat, spaghetti-like pasta from Liguria, which is often served with pesto or seafood. You can substitue pepper with a 1/2 teaspoon of dried chili pepper flakes. You can add it with tomatoes. The yield can be ither for 4 people (as a main course) or 6 people (in case as primo, first course).-Paola