Around the Island

Binder’s bites: penne with swordfish, tomatoes, olives and capers


“To cheese or not to cheese?” that is the question for this swordfish-based sauce.

Purists would say, “No way, no cheese on fish.” I have family members who would say “Oh please, pass the cheese cause I like it that way.” You decide. I’m happy any way. It’s pasta and if I could eat it for dinner every night, I would — and I know I’m not alone. It’s the most versatile ingredient and it asks you to be creative, from a simple and quick “what do we have in the fridge?” type of meal to a multiple day preparation for the holidays.

If I was ever on one of the Food Network shows like “Chopped,” I’d make every mystery basket into a pasta dish. This one I only make in the summer when swordfish is at its best. Just add a salad and dinner is served. Serves 4 to 6. I hope you try it.


1/3 C EVOO

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/8t red pepper flakes

1lb of ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, & diced (cherry tomatoes – sliced in 1/2 work too)

2t fresh oregano

1/2 C water

salt to taste

1lb swordfish, skin removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

3/4C Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered (about 24 olives)

2T rinsed capers

2T flat leaf parsley

1lb penne or spaghetti

1. Have tomatoes, oregano and water ready. In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the EVOO. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for one minute or less, until fragrant (do not let the garlic brown). Add the tomatoes, oregano and water. Raise the heat, cover, bring to a simmer, stir often until the tomatoes break down (about 15 minutes) season with salt. Reduce the heat, add swordfish, cover and gently simmer until fish is opaque, periodically checking for doneness (fork should easily pierce the fish), about 10 minutes.

2. Using the back of a wooden spoon, gently break apart the fish until no large pieces remain.

Add olives, capers, and 1T parsley. Remove from heat.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Always save a bit of pasta water in case your sauce needs a little thinning.

4. Gently reheat the sauce. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss (this is when you decide if you need a touch of pasta water, you might not).

5. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve (with cheese or without).