This fish spaghetti recipe is a variation on this beautiful dish, but uses dried/prepared aromatics and a more accessible fillet (tilapia instead of grey mullet). The flavour profile is similar to other sardine/anchovy pasta dishes I often cook (such as this basic one with garlic + anchovy+ capers + heat), but is tenderer and healthier with the addition of fresh fish and fresh tomatoes. This is my favourite way to cook tilapia BAR NONE, and it may in fact be my new favourite pasta.
1. In a largeish pan, cook spaghetti according to package directions. (You can use regular, brown rice, spelt, or other lighter-tasting spaghetti here, but whole wheat won’t work as well with this delicate dish.)
2. Meanwhile, halve or quarter a small handful of cherry tomatoes, and slice the tilapia fillet into strips (half a fillet is enough for one serving).
3. When the pasta is almost done, reserve a couple scoops of pasta water, then drain and set aside.
4. Dry your pan, and return it to the stove on low-medium heat. To warmed olive oil, add a squirt of pressed garlic, just a few anchovy fillets, and the chopped tomatoes. Then add flavour with capers, chili flakes, black pepper, and dried (or fresh if you have it) parsley.
5. When the tomatoes are beginning to soften, add enough pasta water that the sauce becomes runny. Adjust the heat so that the sauce simmers gently, then add the fish.
6. When the fish is just cooked, turn down the heat, and add the pasta back to the pan and combine. Finish with more parsley for colour, if using dried.
7. Optional: serve with a side of baby arugula (dressed with a sprinkle of salt and a dash of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar).