Reginette pasta with swordfish, eggplant and mint.
This pasta with swordfish recipe is a treat for the taste buds! It includes fried eggplant (aubergine) for authentic Sicilian taste, along with fresh mint and some grated lemon rind which really add a distinctive flavour to both the aubergine and the swordfish.
Sicilians and seafood!
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and since my hubby, Salvatore, is Sicilian, his stomach (and heart) is particularly partial to Sicilian dishes. It took me a number of years before I had the courage to cook Sicilian recipes for him, given that he is such a good cook himself.
Salvatore has a particular love for fish and seafood (as do most Sicilians) and his favourite seafood meals most often include pasta! So, a few days ago, I decided to spoil him with this recipe for one of his favourite pasta/seafood combinations; pasta with swordfish.
Swordfish in Sicilian cuisine.
Pasta with swordfish is a very popular and typical Sicilian dish. In fact, swordfish plays a big part in Sicilian seafood cuisine. The Sicilians grill it, bake it, put it in pies, make involtini or carpaccio with it and serve it with pasta in a number of different ways. The most traditional ways to eat swordfish with pasta are either with eggplant, like in this recipe, or with the typical Mediterranean ingredients of garlic, capers, olives, tomatoes and peperoncino, as in my post for strozzapreti with swordfish.
However, there are also a few other delicious swordfish and pasta recipes from Sicily and other Southern regions which include ingredients such as pistachios, pine nuts, almonds, zucchini or breadcrumbs. Some recipes are ‘al bianco’, meaning without tomatoes and some are traditional to the province they originate from such as ‘alla Messinese’ from Messina; made with tropea onions, celery and green olives, as well as capers and tomatoes.
I particularly like this pasta with swordfish recipe because it really is a treat for the taste buds! It includes fried aubergine, which gives it that authentic Sicilian taste, along with fresh mint and some grated lemon rind which really add a distinctive flavour to both the aubergine and the swordfish.
Different pasta choices for your swordfish.
You can make this recipe with both short and long pasta. In Sicily, you will often find it served with casarecce, busiate, strozzapreti, rigatoni and penne or with spaghetti. I chose to make it with reginette, also known as mafalde or mafaldine, a long ribbon pasta with ruffled sides which was named after the Italian princess Mafalda of Savoy. I love this pasta not only because of its unusual shape but also because of the story behind the name, despite the fact that the princess’ story was a tragic one!
In Italy and most of the Mediterranean, swordfish can be found in abundance during the summer months, so that’s when it is most often served at Italian tables. This pasta with swordfish can also be eaten cold or tepid, if you use short pasta. If you like pasta, aubergines/eggplants and swordfish, then you are bound to love this combination.
If you make this reginette pasta with swordfish recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. Please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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This Sicilian swordfish pasta recipe is a treat for the taste buds! It includes fried eggplant with fresh mint and some grated lemon rind all of which really give it a delicious distinctive flavour.
- 400 g Reginette/Mafaldine pasta (14oz)
- 1 eggplant (1 large or 2 small )
- 250-300 g swordfish steaks (10oz) fresh is better than frozen but you can use both
- 2 peeled garlic cloves
- 200 g datterini or ripe cherry tomatoes . (7oz) cut in half
- 1 handful of fresh mint leaves chopped (dried mint doesn’t work well)
- ½ glass white wine
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 lemon for grating
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again.
Wash the eggplant and cut it into cubes.
Pour some olive oil into a large frying pan, about 1-2 cm, and when it's hot, fry the eggplant cubes until golden brown.
Remove the eggplant from the pan using a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
Discard the remaining oil and give the pan a quick wipe.
- Remove any skin and the centre bone (if it has one) from the swordfish with a sharp knife and cut into cubes, roughly the same size as the aubergine.
Heat some more olive oil in the frying pan and add the peeled garlic cloves. When the garlic starts to colour, add the swordfish.
- Fry the fish for 2-3 minutes (turning the pieces over so they seal on both sides), then add the white wine. Turn up the heat and as soon as the alcohol has evaporated, remove the pan from the fire and sprinkle the fish with some chopped mint and grated lemon rind. Set it aside to marinate a little.
- In another small frying pan, add some more olive oil and fry the halved datterini or cherry tomatoes until they start to soften and the skins start to come loose.
Add the tomatoes and eggplant to the pan with the fish and cook together for a further 3-4 minutes on a medium heat.
Add some more chopped mint and a little more grated lemon rind. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the pasta al dente in the boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet.
When the pasta is al dente, drain quickly and mix together with the swordfish, tomatoes, eggplant cubes and the rest of the mint.
- Serve immediately if you are using long pasta, however this dish can also be eaten tepid or cold if made with short pasta.
Some people salt the eggplant before cooking to draw out excess moisture and bitterness but I didn’t.
This recipe can be made with other long pasta such as spaghetti or short pasta such as penne, rigatoni, busiate, casarecce, strozzapreti etc