Seafood Pasta Sauce


  • Seafood mix:
  • 250g/ 8 oz firm white fish fillets , skinless, boneless, cut into 2 cm / 0.8" cubes (barramundi, snapper, cod - or shrimp, squid etc.)
  • 3/4 tsp black peppercorns or ground pepper
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds or ground fennel
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika (sub ordinary paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (red pepper flakes), feel free to reduce/omit
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 tsp caster / superfine sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cooking / kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Pasta:
  • 250g/8 oz linguine pasta (or fettuccine, spaghetti)
  • 1 tbsp cooking / kosher salt , for pasta water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves , finely minced
  • 3/4 cup tomato puree


  1. Toast & grind - Preheat a large deep skillet or pot over medium heat (Note 5), no oil. Toast black peppercorn and fennel for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until it smells fragrant and the fennel is lightly browned. Transfer to a mortar and use a pestle and grind to a powder while still hot.
  2. Coat fish - Transfer to a medium bowl with remaining Calabrian spiced fish ingredients. Stir well with a spatula until combined. Set aside.
  3. Cook pasta - Boil 3 litres of water with the cooking salt. Cook pasta per packet directions minus 1 minute. Just before draining, scoop out 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking water. Then drain in a colander and leave until ready to use.
  4. Calabrian fish ragu - While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in the same skillet you used to toast the fennel on medium high. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the fish. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add tomato passata. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Toss pasta - Add pasta and 3/4 of the parsley. Toss for 1 minute to coat the pasta with the sauce. Most of the fish will break up into flakes but some will remain in larger chunks - this is good! We don't want disintegrated mush, nor giant chunks. Once the pasta turns red and the sauce and fish bits are clinging to the pasta straws, remove from heat and divide between bowls immediately.
  6. Serve - Sprinkle with pasta, pangrattato and parmesan. Eat immediately!