Swordfish Pasta

Swordfish Pasta with Shishitos and Corn

Swordfish Pasta with Shishito Peppers and Fresh Corn. The shishito and corn give this pasta a global flair but as any Italian will tell you, the combination of pasta and swordfish marks this dish with Sicilian roots. 

Pasta is still one of my “go-to” meals. With a little practice you can make the sauce in the time it takes for you to bring the water to a boil – precise measurements hardly matter at all. I find I can be creative as long as I stick to a few tried and true cooking techniques that ensure beautiful results with pasta.

Swordfish Pasta

Good pasta relies on much more than slopping a terrific sauce on top of quality noodles. The key to success relies on knowing how to bring the sauce and the noodles together with a little of the pasta cooking liquid to create a finished pasta dish that transcends the sum of its parts.

Pasta 101

  • Prepare a large skillet to accept the cooked noodles. It should contain the basics of your sauce or perhaps the sauce in its entirety. At the very least it should contain a couple of tablespoons melted butter and/or olive oil. It just depends on the recipe. See the swordfish pasta recipe below for an example.
  • Boil 4 quarts of water over high heat and stir in enough kosher salt to make the water taste like the sea (about 1/4‑cup).
  • Stir in the pasta and keep it moving around the pot for a few seconds so that it doesn’t stick together. Quickly bring the water back to a boil and then allow the pasta to cook until very al dente. The package directions will not be accurate. You want the pasta slightly undercooked. The exact amount of time will depend on your pasta. Use your best judgment. When the pasta is ready, use tongs or a spider to transfer it to the prepared skillet. Save the pasta water on the stove. 
  • Once the pasta hits the skillet keep it moving by stirring and tossing with any other ingredients in the pan. Now is the time to add about a half cup of pasta water.
  • Bring the pasta and sauce mixture to a boil, adding more water as needed to keep the noodles in about 1/2‑inch of silky sauce. Depending on the recipe this is also the time to add more ingredients as in the swordfish pasta recipe below.
  • Which brings us to the home stretch. As the sauce and noodles simmer continue to shake the pan until the sauce becomes creamy and emulsified, clinging to the noddles.
  • All that’s left is plating, garnishing, and serving. 


Swordfish In Brine
corn and shishito
Swordfish Pasta with Shishito Peppers and Fresh Corn

Swordfish Pasta with Shishito Peppers and Corn 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6Source Adapted from Food & Wine MagazinePublished
swordfish pasta with shishito peppers and corn


  • 5 quart cold water (divided)
  • kosher salt (as needed)
  • extra-virgin olive oil (as needed)
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound shishito peppers
  • 1 pound dried pasta (I chose conchiglie)
  • 2 ears raw corn (kernels only)
  • 3 tablespoon colatura (Italian fish sauce, may subsitute with Asian)
  • ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)


Brine the swordfish: Brine the fish in a mixture of ⅓ cup kosher salt and 1‑quart icy water. After about an hour remove the fish from the brine, rinse it and pat it dry with paper towels, then place it in the refrigerator uncovered for at least two hours or up to overnight. This step is optional but recommended (once it has thoroughly air-dried you may cover it). Remove skin and bloodline from fish; cut fish into ½‑inch cubes. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and garlic. (Let fish cubes stand at room temperature 20 minutes before cooking continuing.)

Prepare the shishito peppers: Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high until smoking. Toss peppers with 2 tablespoons oil; working in 2 or 3 batches, cook until blistered on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Let cool 10 minutes. Cut peppers into ½‑inch rings; discard stems. Using your hands, toss peppers to remove as many seeds as possible. Transfer peppers to a medium bowl, and toss with 2 tablespoons oil and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.

Boil the pasta: Bring the remaining 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over high. Stir in about ¼‑cup kosher salt. Add pasta, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, about 9 minutes (depending on the pasta).

Assemble the dish: Meanwhile, return the large cast-iron skillet to medium heat; add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add half of the fish pieces in a single layer; cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned and cooked through 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside. Repeat with 2 tablespoons oil and remaining fish. Return all fish to the skillet, then using tongs or a spider move the barely cooked pasta to the skillet along with 2/3 cup pasta cooking water.

Finish the dish: Using a wide flat spoon, lift and stir pasta gently until liquid thickens, about 2 minutes, adding another ⅓ cup reserved cooking liquid if needed. Remove from heat; gently stir in cooked and sliced shishito peppers, corn kernels, colatura, parsley, lemon juice, ¼ cup oil, and ½ teaspoon salt; toss gently to coat. Transfer pasta to a serving dish; season with black pepper.