Fishy pasta sauce

We are fortunate to be sheltering in place with an old friend and Clark Way Harrison visiting professor from Italy, so instead of adding to the excellent advice about Zoom and other tricks of distance teaching, I will be sharing recipes and philosophies of cooking. Patrizia d’Ettorre is from Abruzzo, from a small town,right on the sea. She went to university in Parma, has lived in Denmark and now is a professor in Paris. Her cooking is expert and simple. Her recipes bring out the best from excellent ingredients, of the best we have here.

Last night we had a fabulous fresh trout, obtained in a pre-ordered bundle from Daniel Roth at the University City farmer’s market. With the cup or so of remaining cooked trout she made this sauce. It could be made with any fish. It could have tomato sauce added, also. But I like its simplicity. Italian food is as much about aroma as about taste.

I prefer to cook in weights. Patrizia mostly does it by feel. I will try to put volume equivalents, but with this dish, it doesn’t matter. You could double any ingredient.

Trout pasta sauce with black olives

180g (about a cup) left over fish, or an 8 oz can of tuna, mackerel, or salmon

30 g (quarter cup) chopped black olives. Or capers. I thought this would overwhelm the fish, but it didn’t.

1 shallot or a quarter of a small onion, maybe 2 tablespoons chopped

juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

454 g (one pound or one usual box) pasta. We used spaghetti.

olive oil

To cook:

Bring a pot of water to boil. Salt the water with about a tablespoon of Kosher salt.

Sauté the shallot lightly in 2 tablespoons of olive oil (we use the current harvest of Tuscan oil we get at Costco.)

Add the fish and the olives and sauté for a couple more minutes on low.

Cook the pasta to just before al dente. I usually do 2 minutes less than the box says.

Drain the pasta, saving a cup of the cooking water in case you need it to moisten the prepared pasta.

Add the lemon juice to the fish mixture and mix into the pasta. Sprinkle parsley on top. Add a little olive oil and some of the cooking water if necessary to moisten it to your liking.

Enjoy, and remember Italians never put cheese of any kind on pasta with fish.

About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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