Penne with Swordfish, Mint, and Pine Nuts

In this Sicilian dish, pasta, pine nuts, and chunks of swordfish are tossed in mint-spiked olive oil, with more fresh mint thrown in at the end. The combination is irresistible.



Recipe from

Food & Wine


1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound swordfish steak, about 1 inch thick
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
3/4 pound penne


1. In a small frying pan, toast the pine nuts over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Or toast them in a 350° oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the 1/2 tablespoon oil over moderate heat. Sprinkle the swordfish with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Add the fish to the pan and cook 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the fish is just done, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove. When the fish is cool enough to handle, cut it into 1-inch cubes.

3. Wipe out the pan. Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil to the pan and heat over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 cup of the mint and remove the pan from the heat.

4. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the penne until just done, about 13 minutes. Drain and toss with the swordfish, the garlic-and-mint oil, the pine nuts, the remaining 1/4 cup mint, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Variations: You can use tuna in place of the swordfish. Cook the tuna a few minutes less than the swordfish so that it's still pink inside.

Wine Recommendation: Although a meaty fish such as swordfish can usually take a red wine, the minty accents here are better accentuated by a crisp white wine such as a pinot grigio from Italy or a sauvignon blanc from Washington State.

Quick From Scratch Herbs & Spices,

Food & Wine

January 1998
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