The translation of pasta e pesce is pasta and fish. Yes I had to go all Italian on you. I love the language and particularly the food. It’s simple, good and soul satisfying. I am inspired by Italian cooking and this dish is from that inspiration. Pasta is my favorite comfort food. It makes me feel calm, cozy and cured from the stresses of the day – if just for a moment. When I make this dish, all is well in my world.
For me, the combination of pasta and fish is a “stravaganza del palate” or a palate extravaganza in my mouth and it makes my soul sing with the operatic fervor of Barbara Hendrick. Ok, I’ve gone a bit overboard. Thanks for indulging me. Better yet, indulge yourself and make this simple and delicious dish today. Buon appetitio – oh that means “enjoy!”
1- 13.25 ounce box penne pasta
1 tablespoon salt (Pink Himalayan, Sea Salt, table salt)
2 10-ounce carts of grape, cherry tomatoes halved
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup Pitted Kalamata Olives, halved
2 pounds wild caught fish (cod, rockfish,salmon) less than 1 inch in thickness
Red Velvet or Velvet Noir Gourmet Spice Rub and Seasoning
2 -4 tablespoons cooking oil (rice brain, canola or corn)
6 -Fresh basil leaves
Wash and pat dry fish. For best results, fish should be about less than an inch thick. If not, slice in half and that’s easier to do if fish is partially frozen.
Drizzle a little olive oil on both sides of fish and season each side with spice rub. Flavor profile of Red Velvet is sweet and savory; Velvet Noir is sweet and robust – you choose. No spice rub? Use a little salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a non stick skillet over medium heat. Add fish, cover and cook on both side until done, about 2 minutes per side. Remove for heat and drain on paper towel. Repeat, adding more oil as need and cook until all fish is done.
Scrape most of drippings from pan and discard. To that same pan add 1/3 cup olive oil, garlic and Kalamata olives and over medium heat, sauté until fragrant about 1 minute. Add halved tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of Red Velvet or Velvet Noir Gourmet Spice Rub and Seasoning. Mix well. Cover and simmer on low heat 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
While tomato sauce is simmering, fill a large pot with water and add 1 tablespoon of salt and add pasta. Cook pasta until al dente (which means there should be a slight resistance in the center when the pasta is chewed.) Drain when done, reserving 1/3 cup pasta water.
After sauce has simmered 30 minutes, turn off heat. Add drained pasta and 1/3 cup of pasta water to the sauce. Mix well. Break fish into bite size pieces over pasta and gently fold in. Tear fresh basil leaves and sprinkle over the top. Serve with grated or shredded Parmesan cheese.