This simple seafood pasta recipe for 4, combines all the great flavors of the Mediterranean — olives, artichokes, capers, and lemon — and is as perfect for al fresco dining in the summer as it is for a cozy wintertime dinner in front of the fireplace. Halve the recipe for 2 servings.
1 portion cod, rockfish, lingcod, or halibut (10 to 14 ounces)
12 ounces orecchiette
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 ounces baby spinach
¾ cup drained and quartered marinated artichokes
¼ cup pitted and chopped Sicilian green olives
2 tablespoons drained capers
Pinch of crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
Cook the Pasta
Pat fish dry, season generously with salt, and let sit for 10 minutes while water comes to a boil.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Reserve 1 ¼ cups of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
Cook the Fish
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Rinse the fish, then pat dry. Add to the skillet and cook, turning once, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and break into large flakes.
Make the Sauce
Add the remaining oil to the skillet along with the garlic and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the pasta and ¾ cup of the reserved cooking water, and cook, stirring until reduced slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach, artichokes, olives, and capers, and remaining pasta water, and cook, stirring until the pasta is coated in a creamy sauce, 2 to 3 minutes.
Finish and Serve
Add the fish and any accumulated juices, and cook just until heated through. Season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Serve immediately.
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Pair it Up
Sicilian olives deserve Sicilian wine! Look for a savory, minerally Sicilian white wine like Etna Bianco, which comes from Mount Etna. A fresh Italian or Greek white wine would also work.
Level It Up
For a crunchy pasta topper, sauté ½ cup panko and ¼ cup finely crumbled Spanish (dry) chorizo until toasted.
Change It Up
This is a great way to use any leftover cooked fish. Fold in 10 to 12 ounces of any cooked fish — salmon, white fish, or shrimp — at the end.
Lighten It Up
Because olives, capers, and marinated artichokes tend to be salty, reduce the salt in your pasta water or omit it altogether.