Friday, June 01, 2007

Presto Pasta Night #14

For this weeks Presto Pasta Night, hosted by Ruth from Once Upon A Feast, I thought I'd find something to do with Fusilli.


These aren't a regular fusilli - they are longer with a fatter spiral and due to their bulk I thought they could handle something with a bit more flavour.

Something like smoked New Zealand Blue Cod...

smoked cod

Usually I use smoked cod as a pie filling, teaming it with a thick béchamel made from the poaching liquid and topped with fluffy mashed potatoes.

Rather than use potatoes I decided to use pasta and just replace one carbohydrate with another. As I tend to avoid cheese when cooking with fish I needed something to create that crunchy topping and found a solution in a buttery mix of fresh breadcrumbs and parsley.


Baked Smoked Cod and Fusilli

large Fusilli
smoked cod
1 leek, cut into quarters and diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
cavolo nero, sliced thickly
pine nuts
fresh bread crumbs

Poach the cod:
Place the cod in a saucepan that just fits it and pour over with milk. Heat gently until the fish warms through and softens - about 10 minutes but this will depend on the size of the fillet.

Remove the cod from the pan but keep the milk.

Remove any bones and skin and break the fish into rough flakes. Set this aside.

Make the béchamel:
You can read how I make béchamel here - in this case, you use the milk in which you poached the fish. You may need to add fresh milk if the béchamel is too thick. I also don't add any cheese but I do season it with freshly ground white pepper and a little salt.

Make the topping:
Place a couple of slices of stale bread (whole-grain or seed bread is best) along with fresh parsley leaves into a processor and process until it forms a smallish crumb. You still want some texture in this. Place this into a small bowl and add just enough melted butter to just moisten the mix.

Prepare the dish:
While the pasta is boiling, place a little olive and butter into a frypan over a low heat and when the butter has melted add the leek and garlic. Stir this often as you don't want either ingredient to brown - you want the leek to soften and become translucent. At this stage add the shredded cavolo nero (you could substitute spinach, chard or even peas) and continue cooking until it begins to wilt. Toss in a handful of pinenuts and keep stirring.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and set aside.

Add the flaked cod to the pan along with the pasta and stir it through. Pour over the béchamel sauce and mix this through to ensure an even distribution before spooning this into a baking dish.

Sprinkle over with the prepared crumbs and bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven until browned and heated through.


Perfect with a glass of white wine.

Tagged with


  1. Haalo, what an absolutely, positively, unbelievably gorgeous dish!!! I've been licking the screen for the last five minutes.

    Thanks for including this one for Presto Pasta Night.

  2. This type of fusilli is new to me, Haalo - what a delicious and hearty dish!

  3. What a beautiful and delicious looking dish! Sounds fantastic!

  4. AnonymousJune 02, 2007

    I love this recipe! The fish with the pasta calls to me. ;-)


  5. Thanks Ruth - glad you like it!

    Thanks Patricia - it's comfort food.

    Thanks Deborah!

    Thanks Paz - I hope a plate of this finds it's way to you!

  6. Haalo, that sounds devine. When I was reading it, the Portuguese Bacalau came to mind. Have you tried it before? It's made of salted cod which has to be soaked for 24 hrs then boiled in water or milk before being added to other ingredients.

  7. Sounds delicious Haalo. It almost makes me miss winter time!

  8. Haalo, what a great looking dish. I must give this a try!

  9. Thanks Nora - oh I love baccalà as it's called in Italian - there's mantecato which is sort of like a pate, the salt cod is beaten to a paste that is a favourite in my fathers region of Veneto. Or just simple salt cod fritters - Yum!

    Thanks Rose!

    Thanks Fiber - I hope you enjoy it!

  10. Haalo, I didn't know that salted cod is used in Italian cooking too. Thanks for letting me know, I like finding out about regional foods.

  11. My pleasure Nora - baccalà was peasant food so there are many recipes for it's use - simple but very tasty.

  12. AnonymousJune 04, 2007

    haalo, you have made my mouth water and my tummy happy - london is having a cold snap so supper tonight is now sorted out!

  13. Thanks Abby - I hope it warms you up!

  14. Good recipe and very nice photography too. Well done. Simple recipes are usually the best. I'm trying to expand my usual go-to pasta recipes...I might give this a try.


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