This is the kind of carefree pasta dish that, for me, typifies summer eating. The recipe is quick –you can make the condimento (sauce) in the time it takes for you to bring the water to a boil and cook the pasta–and precise measurements hardly matter at all. (The ones indicated here are really just suggestions.) You throw in a handful of this and a handful of that, ‘eyeballing’ the measurements to suit your tastes and mood and pantry. And you can make the dish with just about any kind of pasta that strikes your fancy. The one quality it lacks is economy, the price of swordfish being what it is, but a little goes a long way. In fact, it may be the least expensive way to enjoy swordfish, as you really only need enough to lends its special flavor to the pasta; add more if you want a more substantial dish.
As any Italian will tell you, the combination of pasta and swordfish immediately give this dish away as Sicilian. But you can use this technique with just about any firm-fleshed fish you feel like. After all, it’s summer, and the livin’s easy…
Serves 4-6 people
- 500g (1 lb) pasta of your choice (see Notes)
- 250g-500g (1/2-1 lb) swordfish, boned and skinned and cut into small cubes
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
- 250g (1/2 lb) cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- A handful of black olives
- A spoonful or two of capers
- A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- A sprig of fresh oregano, stem removed (or a pinch of dried)
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- A pinch of hot red pepper flakes
Put a large pot of water on to boil, salt well, and throw in your pasta. Cook al dente.
While the water is coming to a boil, start your condimento: Sauté the garlic in abundant olive oil until it is lightly browned, then raise the heat to high and add the swordfish. Mix the swordfish from time to time so it browns evenly, seasoning generously.
When the swordfish is browned to your liking, add the tomatoes, olives and capers, lowering the heat a bit so the ingredients simmer rather than sizzle. Cook for 5 minutes or so, until the tomatoes have softened but not entirely disintegrated. Turn off the heat and mix in the parsley and oregano, and the red pepper flakes if using. (Reserve a bit of the parsley if you like for garnish.)
When the pasta is done, transfer it to the sauté pan and mix everything well over gentle heat. Don’t drain the pasta too well, you’ll need a bit of pasta water to make a proper sauce. If the pasta is too dense, add some more pasta water to loosen things up.
Serve immediately, with some parsley sprinkled on top for garnish if you like.