Seafood and pasta pair beautifully together, in particular in this garlicky spaghetti with cod and rapini (broccoli rabe). This flavorful recipe is adapted from the Union Square Cafe in New York City. It definitely tastes worthy of a restaurant with the ease of home preparation.
1bunch rapini (broccoli rabe)rinsed under cold water
8ouncesskinless, boneless cod, haddock, or halibut,uniformly cut into 1-inch pieces
¼cupextra-virgin olive oil
1teaspoondried chili flakes
1cupdry white wine
1poundspaghetti, spaghettini, or capellini
3tablespoonschopped fresh parsley
Juice from ½ lemon
Prepare the breadcrumbs. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet, drizzle or spray with olive oil and place the sheet in the oven. Toast the bread until golden brown and dry, rotating the tray so the bread toasts evenly, about 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and immediately rub the toasts with the whole clove of garlic. Allow to cool. Process the bread in a food processor until the crumbs are broken down fine. You may have a few chunks that won't break down, but you can remove them and snack on them or discard them. You will likely have more breadcrumbs than you'll need. Set aside.
Slice rapini cross-wise about ½-inch wide beginning at the top of the bunch, and then thinner as you near the middle where there are more stems. Discard the thick stems at the bottom, or save them to cook in soup. Set the cut rapini aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously.
Season the fish pieces with salt and set aside.
In a very large sauté pan or deep skillet, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil with the chopped garlic. Place the pan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the seasoned fish and chili flakes, and continue to stir for about 20 seconds. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Turn the fish pieces and lower the flame, bringing the ingredients to an easy simmer. Cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a plate. They will be just cooked through and still quite moist.
Continue to gently simmer the wine broth for another 3 minutes, or until reduced by one-third. Turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente. Just before draining the pasta, remove about ½ cup pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta well.
Add ¼ cup pasta cooking water to the wine broth and add the drained spaghetti. Place the pan back on medium-high heat. When the broth comes to a boil, add the sliced rapini, gently tossing it until it begins to wilt. Lower the heat, add the cooked fish, and parsley and toss everything together gently. Taste a strand of pasta to check the seasoning for salt.
Add the lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss. The pasta should be moist, but not too brothy. Add a bit more pasta cooking water from the reserved supply if necessary. Immediately transfer the pasta to a large platter or individual bowls and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and serve.
As a shortcut, you could use store-bought dry breadcrumbs instead of making your own, but first toast them in a skillet with a little olive oil and minced garlic just to enhance their flavor!
My recommended white wines for cooking are Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Avoid sweeter wines and definitely avoid anything labeled "cooking wine" which contain added salt.
I wouldn't recommend doubling this recipe to make in a single skillet. It can be a bit difficult to mix all the ingredients evenly from the point you add the spaghetti onward.
It's perfectly ok if your pieces of fish start to flake and fall apart a bit as you mix them into the pasta. It will still taste delicious. Also, you want them to reheat in the spaghetti mixture after having set them aside earlier in the process.