pasta & fish: in-one-pot!

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Another day – another approach to one-pot-pasta!

Today we are dealing w/ pasta in a thickened mix of fish, tomatoes & onions flavoured w/ thyme.

Even now in Northern Spain a one-pot-pasta dish is one of my favorites – because it’s so easy & there are only few ingredients … no issues w/ availability of more extraordinary input into my pan.

In my oldest Italian pasta cookbook (Vincenzo Buonassisi’s Nudel & Nudel – have a look at the last book on my cookbook page!) there’s a recipe called Tagliatelle Belle Epoque w/ homemade tagliatelle, sole fillets, tomatoes & thyme, onions, cream, brandy … (The recipe says you may substitute plaice for sole fillets & tomato purée for fresh tomatoes.)

I often made it w/ store-bought spaghetti or tortiglioni …, w/ plaice, tilapia … it was always delicious. So I decided to give it a try as one-pot-pasta.

What do we need?

Only few ingredients:

  • tiplapia fillets
  • riccioli pasta & water
  • spring onions
  • dried thyme & a bay leave
  • tomato purée.

1st step: chopping the spring onions & the fish fillets.

Take a pan: the spring onions are fried w/ olive oil, thyme & bay leave for some minutes. Add the fish fillets & fry for some more minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Add the pasta, the water & the tomato purée – maybe a pinch of sugar. Bring the mess to a boil & stir once in a while until the water has almost vanished, the pasta is soft & starts uncurling.

Once again add salt & pepper to taste. You may also add some cream at this point – if you like & think it’s too dry: The result is a creamy pasta dish w/ almost melted fish fillet!

(You should definitely look for the bay leave & discard it – last chance!)

To add some fresh sharp kick just take a handful of arugula, chop it & mix it into the pasta.

At 1st glance the riccioli seem rather tough, however, when boiled they uncurl into short small taglierini. The fish fillets are soft from the very beginning & almost dissolve … it’s the basis of the creaminess. (You’ve noticed that there isn’t any grated parmesan, pecorino, gruyere … involved!)

Water, water, water … Until now I always used simple, clear water for my one-pot-pasta. No stock. If you use ingredients w/ rich, strong flavours (like South Tyrolean bacon & pecorino, like lots of fish fillets & „concentrated“ tomato purée …) you won’t need to enhance your one-pot-pasta by using any stock instead of water.


pasta & fish: in-one-pot!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Servings: 2
  • 150 g riccioli pasta
  • 200 g fish fillet (tilapia)
  • 5 spring onions
  • 1 can tomato purée (about 70 g)
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leave
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 ml water
  • salt & pepper
  • a handful rocket/arugula (optional)
  • some cream (optional)
how to:
  • Dice the fish fillet & make sure that there are no bones left.
  • Chop the spring onions.
  • Add olive oil, thyme, bay leave & spring onions to a pan & start frying for about 3-4 min.
  • Add fish fillet & salt & pepper.
  • Fry for about 5 min until the fish starts disintegrating.
  • Add pasta & tomato purée & sugar & warm/hot water & bring to a boil.
  • Mix well & let it boil for about 10 min.
  • Stir every now & then.
  • Remove the bay leave & discard it.
  • As soon as the water is soaked by the pasta turn off the heat – be careful: the pasta should not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • optional: If you think it’s too dry add 2-3 tbsp cream.
  • optional: Chop some rocket/arugula & mix in the pasta mess.
Pasta: You may use any pasta like riccioli.
Fish fillet: You may also work w/ cod or redfish or plaice or sole – just take one of the classic fish fillets.
Pepper: I like a lot of pepper in this pasta, however, it’s up to you …
Arugula/rocket: the freshly chopped arugula adds some sharp edge to the dish.

(information on equipment)

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keep it simple. be flexible. always.