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Sicilian Pasta with Swordfish, Fennel, and Mint Topped with Toasted Crumbs, Almonds, and Fennel Seeds
serves 4

Swordfish Pasta with Fennel and MintINGREDIENTS

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup, packed, mint
  • 1/4 cup, chopped fennel fronds
  • 1/2 pound swordfish steak
  • 2 pounds cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound any shape of macaroni pasta

METHOD

Begin by making the topping, if using.  In a wide, nonstick sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the breadcrumbs, almonds, and fennel seed, and season with salt and pepper.  Toast, stirring often, until golden and crisp.  Remove to a bowl and set aside, and wipe out the pan.  There’s no need to wash it.

Prep the vegetables for the pasta sauce by pulsing together the garlic, fennel, mint, and fennel fronds in the food processor until finely chopped.  Set aside.

In a wide sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Season the fish with salt and pepper, and cook, turning once, until just cooked through and opaque in the middle.  The time will depend on the thickness of your fish.  Remove the fish to a plate and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same pan, and lower the heat to medium.  Add the chopped garlic, fennel, and herbs to the pan, and season.  Sauté the fennel just until soft and fragrant, and add the tomatoes.  Use a potato masher to burst the tomatoes.  Cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low for 12-15 minutes, until you have a fresh sauce that’s still chunky.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain.

Remove the skin from the swordfish and chop into a fine dice.  Add to the tomato and fennel sauce, along with the drained pasta.  Keep on the heat for about another 30 to 60 seconds, while the pasta drinks in tomato juice, and toss.  Drizzle with fresh olive oil, and serve with the almond-crumb topping alongside.

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