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I was fascinated by the following description of Paccheri “…Sicilian pasta barons created Paccheri pasta, perfectly shaped to hide a ducat’s worth of Italian garlic (four to five cloves). Concomitantly, the pasta barons disseminated a litany of propaganda about Paccheri pasta designed to obfuscate Paccheri’s true role...” (more can be found here).

I have cooked this by accident as the following were the only ingredients I had ready when some friends showed up for dinner; it was such a success that I have decided to incorporate it in my favourite recipes.

  • 1 pound (450g) monkfish
  • 2 pounds (900g) Paccheri
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (oil drained)
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • 1 clove garlic (halved)
  • 3 chilies
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Clean the monkfish (I agree it looks scary)removing the sturdy skin (or have it cleaned by the fishmonger). Cut the fish along the backbone, obtaining two large fillets. Dice the fillets removing all fish-bones.

In a large skillet heat the oil, the garlic and the chilies. Just before the garlic turns brown, remove from oil and discard; remove the chilies.

Chop the sun-dried tomatoes and set aside. “Brown” (it will actually turn white) the fish, add the tomatoes and the capers (remove excess salt). Cook for 10/15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, the fish will absorb the juices and all the flavours will blend.

Cook the pasta (al dente, please) following manufacturer’s instructions (normally 14 minutes); drain the pasta and add it to the fish; return to heat and cook (stirring) for another 2 minutes, seasoning as necessary.

Transfer to single plates, sprinkling some parsley on each plate.

Serves 6.

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