Sunday is usually the day I can let my pasta jones out and run rampant. And this past Sunday was no different. I had just purchased some Barilla Angel Hair pasta on the way home from Sunday service, I was being lazy and didn’t want to make fresh pasta.
This is my favorite fish store around. I will write an article about them in the near future. But suffice it to say that when you walk into the store the one thing you don’t smell is fish. And by my standards that is the best smell of all. What I was after was Halibut, which has become my go to fish on any given day because it’s an excellent and delicious fish. I love the stuff. It’s a nice white fish that when cooked is still solid but flaky at the same time. So I quickly checked out the offering for the day and no halibut. What they did have is some really nice fresh, wild caught sea bass. Good enough. I took a little less than a pound, paid and headed for home. As usual when I know I am going to be cooking pasta, I get a little excited. Hey, it comes from when I was a young kid and my mother made macaroni, as it was so inelegantly called back then. We seldom had spaghetti, or linguine but what we did have was always good. The rigatoni, or whatever she made. It was all good, always without exception. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so. My brother and sister are the same way. We all love pasta.
Anyway, I had the angel hair, I now had the fish and I figured I could make do with what was in the cupboards, and refrigerator. So we are all set for Sunday early evening dinner and I am really looking forward to it.
Around about 5pm I started rummaging around inside the refrigerator to see what was available. A little fresh basil, some shallots in the cupboard, butter, there’s always butter, and some onion and green pepper. Good enough! I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it. I like my food simple. I don’t like over complicated dishes that takes a computer to figure out all the ingredients. Simple, is the key to good wholesome, delicious food. I’m not out to impress anyone with how much stuff I can throw into a dish. I like a few things in a pasta dish, I like to taste the items blended together, but I don’t like individual components to overshadow all the others.
I put a large copper pot of water on to boil and threw in a couple of teaspoons full of salt. While that was getting up to speed I took the sea bass out and cut it into fairly large cubes. I would say the cubes were close to one and a half inches square. Somewhere in there. The reason is I want them to cook through and I want to have some of it flake off, but I still want some nice little chunks of fish floating around in the pasta. Then I took the leftover green pepper and julienned it. The basil I just chopped. I used to do a chiffonade of basil but for pasta I just don’t like it. I like it chopped in small pieces.
The water was boiling away nicely now so I threw in the angel hair and gave it a good stir. I am really careful with angel hair as it is super easy to over cook. So I just kind of watched it while I got the fish ready to go. I test the pasta by munching on it. I’ve heard all kinds of methods, but the one that works for me is just eating a piece. For me angel hair has to be al-dente, and the only way to get it perfect is by mouth feel. Once there I drained the pasta and got busy getting the rest ready.
I crushed one clove of garlic, and chopped up a shallot, and set them to browning in my handy dandy steel wok with a splash of olive oil. Then I tossed in the fish and got that to cooking gently with some nice fish stock that I just happened to have in the freezer. I didn’t use a lot, just enough to keep the liquid level up. I’d say around a cup or so because what you’re doing really is poaching the fish but you don’t need a lot of liquid to do that. I seasoned the fish with salt and pepper, added just a touch of dry oregano, some red pepper flakes, tossed in the green peppers, added a bit of butter and we were good to go.
I added the pasta to the wok and folded in the fish and other ingredients. I tried to keep the bigger pieces of fish from breaking. The mixture was a little dry so I put a little more stock in the still slowly cooking wok and brought the fish and pasta to the perfect point of moisture. I tasted to test for seasoning and wow, was that ever good. It was really a nice light, fully flavored angel hair pasta with sea bass cooked absolutely perfect. I gave it a light dusting of parmigiana and it was time to manga. Quite lovely, and really so good. Kathy and I ate dinner, no bread, no salad, just this lovely delicious dish. She had the nerve to tell me the next morning that I had made the pasta so good she had over eaten and couldn’t sleep because of it. I guess I’ll have to tone it down next time.
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