Monkfish cavatelli, orange, saffron, breadcrumbs

Adapted by
March 2019
Yield: 10 servings


Spice Blend:
2 grams black peppercorns
1 gram pink peppercorns
1 gram fennel seeds
1 gram red chile flakes
1 gram cinnamon stick
1 gram cloves
1 gram dry allspice berries
Monkfish Ragout:
2 monkfish tails (about 1½ pounds each), skinned, halved lengthwise, and deboned
Olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup celery brunoise
1 cup fennel brunoise
1 cup finely chopped fennel fronds
1 cup red onion brunoise
1 cup white onion brunoise
2 cloves roasted garlic, finely chopped
3 cloves raw garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup finely chopped oregano
1 fillet brown anchovy
1 gram saffron
1 cup dry white wine
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, hand crushed
To Assemble and Serve
2 pounds fresh cavatelli
Toasted breadcrumbs
Finely chopped parsley


For the Spice Blend

In a spice grinder, combine and grind spices. 

For the Monkfish and Spice Blend

Season monkfish tails with salt and Spice Blend. In a Dutch oven over high flame, heat olive oil and sear fish until golden on all sides. Reserve fish, and wipe excess oil from pot. Decrease heat to medium, add extra virgin olive oil, and sauté vegetables and herbs until vegetables are slightly translucent. Add anchovy and saffron, continuing to stir to prevent scorching. Increase heat and deglaze pan with white wine, scraping up the fond. Stir in tomatoes. Place the monkfish tails in the sauce and bring to a rapid simmer. Adjust to a medium simmer and cook 45 minutes, until fish is falling apart tender. Carefully transfer fish to a pan large enough to hold the monkfish and sauce. Over medium heat, cook sauce 30 minutes more, stirring continuously, until reduced sauce by one-third. Pour sauce over the monkfish and let cool. When cool, with two forks, pull fish into smaller pieces. 

To Assemble and Serve

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cavatelli and cook to al dente; drain. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm Monkfish Ragout. Add cavatelli and toss to combine. Transfer to shallow bowls and top with breadcrumbs and parsley.