Sicilian Swordfish Ragu
One of the best things about having a birthday just before Christmas is the fact that everyone in my family has always been home for the holidays. (And, of course, that includes my birthday, right?)
This year I celebrated my birthday in my favorite way – a family dinner at home that is not cooked by me! Carrie made Sicilian Swordfish Ragu, a delicious slow cooker pasta sauce, and Laura made a Mandarin Orange Cake! Everything was delicious! (Thank you, Laura and Carrie! ♥)
On the morning of my birthday I was thumbing through a book I had checked out from the library, The Italian Slow Cooker, by Michele Scicolone. It is full of recipes that I would like to try, and I think it’s a book I may have to add to my collection. Anyway, on my birthday I came across her recipe for Sicilian Swordfish Ragu and immediately thought, “This is what I want for my birthday dinner!”
The recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta, easily serving 8 people, but it only uses one pound of swordfish so it’s an economical way to share a special fish.
The Sicilian Swordfish Ragu was so good! It’s a recipe I would, and probably will, make again. You could substitute any firm white fish for the swordfish. The sauce is so full of flavor; you could even skip the fish to make an excellent vegetarian sauce. This slow cooker recipe is definitely a keeper!
Sicilian Swordfish Ragu
(Adapted from a recipe in The Italian Slow Cooker, by Michele Scicolone)
Serve with a salad and a good crusty bread for a complete meal!
Makes 8 cups, plenty to sauce 1 pound of pasta
(Cut the recipe in half to make it in a 3½ quart slow cooker.)
¼ cup olive oil
3 medium celery ribs, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 (28-ounce) cans of Italian peeled tomatoes with their juice
1 pound swordfish, skin removed
½ cup pitted and chopped Sicilian green olives
¼ cup rinsed, and drained capers (chopped if they are large)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
For serving: 1 pound pasta (Cavatelli is suggested. Carrie used medium shells which were perfect for capturing bits of the sauce.)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until it is just warm. Add the celery, carrots, garlic, and parsley and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft. Do not let them brown. It will take 5 – 10 minutes.
2. Put the vegetables and oil into the slow cooker. Put the canned tomatoes in a strainer over the slow cooker so the juices drain in. Break the tomatoes with your hands into small pieces and add them to the slow cooker. Add just a bit of salt. Cover, and cook on Low for 3 – 4 hours, until it has thickened up a bit.
3. Add the olives, capers, dried oregano and the red pepper flakes. Stir, cover and cook on Low for another 30 minutes or so.
4. Cut the swordfish into 1/2 –inch pieces and stir it into the sauce. Cover and cook on Low for another 30 minutes. Taste the sauce for seasoning; add a bit of salt, if needed. (If the canned tomatoes are salted, you may not need any more.)
5. When the sauce is about done, cook the pasta according to the package directions in salted water. When the pasta is done, turn off the slow cooker, drain the pasta and gently stir it into the sauce in the slow cooker. Serve!