Paccheri con Pesce Spada e Pomodorini
In English please.
What is paccheri, you are wondering?
Paccheri is a wide tubular pasta shape from Italy that collapses when you cook it, and is great w/ seafood sauces. I have only had it in NYC restaurants, and even though I live 20 miles from those restaurants, I could not find this pasta.
I substituted rigatoni for the paccheri and it was fine.
The next time I will mail order it directly from Naples!
This beautiful summer pasta dish is from the wonderful book My Calabria. There are a lot of swordfish (pesce spada) recipes in this book because swordfish is the main catch in this region of Southern Italy.
With this recipe, you use fresh summer ingredients and the freshest catch. You work fast to create a wonderful light pasta dish that calls for a crisp summer white wine to go with it. We loved this dish.
The book mentions that different regions prepare this sauce with different ingredients.
In Naples they use eggplant with the swordfish. Some of the Italian recipes I found use olives, and some even use pine nuts. You can use basil or parsley, just make sure you use the tablespoon of kosher salt that the recipe calls for.
Paccheri con Pesce Spada e Pomodorini (Pasta w/ Swordfish & Cherry Tomatoes) (adapted from My Calabria):
3/4 lb. of paccheri (good luck finding it!) or rigatoni (which is what I used)
1 lb. swordfish steak (I went over a pound), cut into 3/4" cubes
1 lb. sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
4 garlic cloves, chopped
big shake of hot red pepper flakes
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
big handful of fresh parsley leaves
handful of Kalamata or Gaeta olives, halved (optional, but makes it yummier)
handful of capers (also optional, but do it)
You have to work quickly. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce.
In a heavy 12" skillet, heat the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add the generous shake of hot pepper flakes, the garlic and swordfish. Cook only 45 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant. Don't worry, the fish will be totally cooked.
Now add the cherry tomatoes and the tablespoon of kosher salt. Cook only 1 minute.
You don't want the tomatoes to collapse at all.
Remove the fish and tomatoes from the heat and add the parsley and olives and capers (if using). It's ok for the sauce to rest a few minutes while the pasta is cooking.
Drain the pasta and add it immediately to the tomato fish sauce. Toss the mixture to incorporate all the yummy flavors. No cheese please on this pasta (eeew to fish w/ cheese).
Serve immediately. We ate the entire pan ourselves, this was so delicious.
Swordfish is not common in MS. But, fresh bass is very common at our house!
Also, I was at Williams-Sonoma this weekend and they had paccheri there. It was $12 a bag, but is infinitely better than ordering online.
Have you looked for pacchieri at the Italian place in the Chelsea Market? thanks
Love that book too!