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Fish Sauces for Pasta - Italian Fish Sauces - Fish Pasta Sauces

Fish can be made into all sorts of pasta sauces, from elegant sea bass to zesty tuna. And don't forget romantic salmon.

Reef Spaghetti -- Spaghetti allo Scoglio
Reef spaghetti, or spaghetti allo scoglio, is made with all sorts of crustaceans and shellfish, and is very popular, especially in festive occasions. Exactly what goes into it depends upon what's available at the fishmonger's, but here's a suggestion.

Pasta with Smoked Salmon, Paste al Salmone Affumicato
I was recently asked for a recipe for pasta with smoked salmon. Since this is one of the standard Valentine’s Day recipes (the versions printed are often aimed at men) I expected to find one on the Internet. Alas, though I did find several, they were quite elaborate, and almost all involved shrimp, which I find superfluous if the salmon is good. So here is a recipe, off the top of my head, based on a dish of pasta I had many years ago at Il Pantheon, in Rome.

Short Pasta with Salmon and Walnuts -- Pasta Corta con Salmone e Noci
Short Pasta with Salmon and Walnuts, Pasta Corta con Salmone e Noci: Pasta with salmon is a classic romantic dish, but it can be a little boring. Here's a more interesting variation that also includes walnuts, presented by Beppe Bigazzi on an Italian cooking show.

Elisabetta's Pasta with Fresh Salmon Recipe - Paste al Salmone Fresco
If you're not a fan of smoked salmon, the standard pasta al salmone that often appears at romanic meals in Italy will fall flat for you. Fresh salmon is more delicate, and the addition of finely chopped zucchini to the sauce contributes a fine touch.

Calamari Sauces
A pair of sauces made with squid, one with ink and one without.

Spaghetti al Tonno -- Spaghetti with Tuna Sauce
There are many many varieties of tuna sauce for pasta. This one is quick and tomatoey.

Spaghetti al Cartoccio
One of the most spectacular ways of serving it is al cartoccio -- boiled, sauced, then wrapped in paper and baked. As a preparation method this may sound odd, but your guests will greet the arrival of the packets at the table with mounting anticipation that will turn to joy as they open them and savor the aromas that burst forth.

Gramma Rosi's Tuna Sauce
Gramma Rosi's Tuna Sauce: Noreen Rosi writes: My Mother in law was from Umbria, she moved to the USA after World War 1 to marry my Father in law,(who was also born in Northern Italy). He had journeyed here when he was 13 years of age to work in, with other relatives, the coal mines of Pennsylvania. Once the First World War was declared he was sent to Italy as an infantry soldier in the US army. The family raised three children in Utica, NY. One of her many recipes was...

Spaghetti al Cartoccio
One of the most spectacular ways of serving pasta is al cartoccio -- boiled, sauced, then wrapped in paper and baked. As a preparation method this may sound odd, but your guests will greet the arrival of the packets at the table with mounting anticipation that will turn to joy as they open them and savor the aromas that burst forth.

Artusi's Macaroni with Sardines -- Maccheroni con le Sarde
Maccheroni con le Sarde -- -- Macaroni with Sardines

Spaghetti with Bottarga -- Spaghetti alla Bottarga
Spaghetti with Bottarga, or Spaghetti alla Bottarga: First of all, what is bottarga? Dried salted tuna roe, and, if it is of good quality, it's a great delicacy that many consider rather randy. Some of the best comes from Sardegna.

A Simple Fishy Pasta Sauce for Perch
Perch is one of th emost prized fresh-water fish, and it must also take well to being farmed, to judge from the sheer volume of perch fillets you'll find in Italian fish markets. There are many ways to prepare it, and here is a simple pasta sauce that will work well with spaghetti.

Bigoli with Salted Sardines -- Bigoli co le Sardele Salae
Bigoli with Salted Sardines -- Bigoli co le Sardele Salae: This was one of the standard Friday and Vigil day dishes in Dalmatia, and a requirement for Christmas Eve.

Capuntini with Baccalà -- I Capunìdde ch'u Baccalà
Capuntini with Baccalà, or I Capunìdde ch'u Baccalà: Capuntini are a South Italian variety of pasta shaped (roughly) like a zito that has been split lengthwise, and this is a classic Christmas Eve dish in Altamura, in Puglia. To serve 6 you'll need:

Casarecce, and an Eggplant and Swordfish Sauce
Casarecce, and an Eggplant and Swordfish Sauce: Casarecce, a term that also means "home made," are 3/4 inch wide strips of pasta about 1 1/2 inches long that are loosely rolled up around their long axis. They work nicely with chunky sauces. A recipe? A refreshing eggplant and swordfish sauce. It will work best with swordfish steaks cut from the stomach area of the fish. Should swordfish not be available it will also work with tuna steaks.

Bucatini with Anchovies and Breadcrumbs, Bucatini con Acciughe
The idea of seasoning pasta with breadcrumbs might seem rather strange, but is actually traditional, frugal, and quite tasty. Especially when you add salted anchovies, which bring with them a delightful fishy freshness. This recipes will serve four, and you can expect people to frown when they realize it's all gone.

Corkscrews With Green Peppers and Swordfish
This is a quick, easy, very refreshing spring-summer pasta sauce, a dish you can whip up while the pasta water is coming to a boil, and have your guests demanding more. Since the combination of peppers and swordfish is also (ahem) stimulating, pasta with green peppers and swordfish is an ideal dish for a romantic occasion...

Fresh pasta with Scorpion Fish Sauce -- Paste alla Chitarra con lo Scorfano
Fresh pasta with Scorpion Fish Sauce, or Paste alla Chitarra con lo Scorfano: Paste alla chitarra are made using a contraption whose thinly spaced wires bring a guitar to mind; you press the sheet of pasta dough through them and thus obtain pasta that's about the same size as thick spaghetti but square in cross section. You can, if need be, use tagliatelle instead here, or even spaghetti.

Spaghetti with Canned Tuna, Spaghetti col Tonno
Search Italian Cuisine Spaghetti col Tonno -- Spaghetti with Canned Tuna Fish I first had this sauce during a geological field trip in the Apuan Alps: It had been raining for a week, and we were wet, cold, and miserable. When Marco was done feeding us, we were still wet, still cold, but satisfied. And I still make it when I’m out camping.

Lined Penne, and a Salmon and Herb Sauce
Lined Penne, and a Salmon and Herb Sauce: Penne Rigate are one of the mainstays of the Italian pasta scene, perhaps because they're one of the finest foils imaginable for a chunky sauce, be it meat or vegetable based. Here smoked salmon plays a predominant role, without much in the way of tomato or other ingredients that might clash with it, though it gains support from cream and basil.

Linguini with Anchovies -- Linguine alle Acciughe
This recipe is among those traditionally served on Christmas Eve, though there's no reason to enjoy it only then.

Linguini with Oranges - Linguine All'Arancia
Pasta with lemon sauce is quite refreshing, and popular in the summer months. Oranges can be just as refreshing, but are at their best in winter, when linguini or similarly-shaped pasta and this fish-and-orange sauce will be quite nice as the centerpiece of a light lunch.

Macaroni with Cuttlefish, Maccheroni con le Seppie
Cuttlefish can be a delight, and here the presentation is also quite elegant. In short, the perfect dish with which to impress fish-loving friends.

Misto Sugo: The Beginnings of Fish Sauce for Pasta or Rice
Yes, you find things like this in Italian fish markets too: a mixture of chopped and whole fish including salmon, prawns, squid, mussels, white fish, and (I expect) whatever else the fishmonger had on hand that wasn't bony. Preparation is simple...

Pappardelle With Mackerel -- Pappardelle agli Sgombri
Pappardelle With Mackerel, Pappardelle agli Sgombri: Mackerel are quite tasty, and also relatively inexpensive, making this pasta sauce all the more worth making.

Pasta Salad with Lentils and Tuna -- Insalata di Pasta con Tonno e Lenticchie
Lentils are as tasty cool as they are warm, and are therefore a perfect bet in a pasta salad. In this case with tuna, and they're red, which adds a pretty color contrast to the dish.

Pasta with Grilled Sardines Recipe - Pasta Con Le Sarde Grigliate
Though you might not think to grill sardines -- there are many much more glamorous fish out there that look much more impressive when served off the grill -- they are extremely tasty, and if you do grill them you'll discover that they go very fast, with your guests demanding more. In addition to serving them grilled, you can use them to make this tasty pasta with grilled sardines recipe.

Pasta with Sardines, Pasta Ccu Ri Sarde
This springs from a request from Keith, for "an Italian dish that includes, among other things, currants and fresh anchovies tossed with linguine." It sounds intriguing, but I haven't come across it yet. What I have found, in Ottavio Cavalcanti's Il Libro della Cucina e dei Vini di Calabria e Basilicata, is Pasta Ccu Ri Sarde, pasta with fresh sardines. To serve four, you will need:

Penne with Dentex and Asparagus - Penne con Dentice e Asparagi
Dentex is one of the most flavorful and prized Mediterranean fish, and it beautifully complements asparagus in this rather unexpected variation on the surf and turf pasta sauce.

Spaghetti al Cartoccio Vucciria Style
One of the most spectacular ways of serving pasta is al cartoccio -- boiled, sauced, then wrapped in paper and baked. As a preparation method this may sound odd, but your guests will greet the arrival of the packets at the table with mounting anticipation that will turn to joy as they open them and savor the aromas that burst forth. This is an extraordinarily rich version for a happy occasion.

Spaghetti al Tonno: The Video
A quick, simple, tasty recipe for spaghetti with a tomato and tuna sauce that will be ready by the time the pasta is done.

Spaghetti And A Fish and Tomato Sauce
A quick, easy to throw together summer sauce that gains a hint of the sea from the anchovies.

Spaghetti or Rice in with Tuna Sauce -- Spaghetti o Riso al Tonno
Spaghetti or Rice in with Tuna Sauce, or Spaghetti o Riso al Tonno: This is an old recipe from Versilia, the Tuscan coastal plain north of Pisa, and though it is nowhere near as common as it once was it's well worth rediscovering. It will work equally well over spaghetti, short pasta such as penne, or rice.

Calabrian Spaghetti with Cuttlefish Recipe
You'll need small tender cuttlefish for this pasta, which will serve four as a first course, or two as a main course (with a tossed salad).

Spaghetti with Squid Ink, Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia
Squid ink is just what it sounds like -- the ink of the squid, and it adds both a sea tang and a deep black glow to this recipe. You will have to go to a fishmonger who has very fresh fish when you make this.

Tagliatelle with Anchovies and Tuna -- Tagliatelle con Acciughe e Tonn
Pasta with a tuna-laced tomato sauce is a standard summer dish, and very refreshing. If, for some reason, you would rather avoid tomato sauce, here's another option. The combination of fish and grated cheese is unusual for Italy, but works well.

Tagliatelline, and a Salmon Sauce
Tagliatelline, and a Salmon Sauce: Tagliatelline are one of the finer members of the tagliatelle family (the line suffix is a diminutive). The sauces tend in to be creamy and rather liquid, in part because the pasta will absorb some of the liquid during its journey to the table, and not chunky. The cooking time is brief, a minute or two. A sauce? Salmon Sauce will be perfect, especially on Valentine's Day.

The Origins of Tiramisu, And Bigoli for Good Friday
Debbie wrote, asking"My son and I are having a debate as to the legend of the origin of tiramisu. We were told that female Venetian lace makers would take a break from their work and have some tiramisu as a "pick me up". Some of the research we have done seems to indicate that it was the Venetian courtesans, not the lace makers, that ate the tiramisu as a "pick me up" Can you shed any light on this matter, or tell us where we could go to find the information on the origin of tiramisu?"

Truly Sicilian Macaroni with Sardines -- Maccheroni con le Sarde
Truly Sicilian Macaroni with Sardines, or Maccheroni con le Sarde: John recently wrote, "This may be a tough one as it goes way back and depends upon a young boy's memory. My Sicilian grandmother in Brooklyn, NY was an excellent cook and I remember this dish ... she mostly made it from scratch ... and some major ingredients were, SARDINES AND FENNEL. I believe it also had pine nuts in the somewhat 'tomato based' mixture that was served over pasta. Ever heard of it? Any ideas?"

Vermicelli alla Campolattaro I
Vermicelli alla Campolattaro I: A recipe kindly provided to Caròla Francesconi by Count Paolo Gaetani; Don Emilio Capomazza Marquis of Campolattaro, who lived in the mid-1800s, was a charming conversationalist, cultured gentleman, Mayor of Naples, and Member of Parliament, who also found time to create three renowned pasta sauces that bear his name. The first, to serve 6:

Ziti with Sardines -- Ziti con le Sarde
Ziti with Sardines, or Ziti con le Sarde: This recipe is from the Marche, and is one of the few the fishermen used to eat: The fishermen who went out to get the catch ate little fresh fish, but rather subsisted on dried octopus and cod, and salted anchovies and sardines. In other words, they sold the choicer elements of their catch, and preserved whatever remained for days when it was too rough to leave port.

Spaghetti with Clams and Octopus Recipe - Spaghetti con Vongole e Polpo
Clam sauce is one of the most common pasta sauces, and rightly so. It can also be easily modified, and here we have octopus (one could also use squid, if need be) with fennel, dill, and a touch of saffron. The recipe is light, and if your diners have heartier appetites you may want to double it.

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