Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cod Poached in Tomato Sauce with Homemade Pasta

I saw Lidia Bastianich make a version of this dish on her show and I pined away for it for a few weeks before actually making it (the name of her dish sounded so much prettier in Italian). I shouldn't have waited so long because it is amazing and I want to make it again and again. Also, I am gearing up for the Feast of the Seven Fishes Part Deux and I want to change out a few dishes from last year. Big hunks of cod (or anther sturdy, white fish) are simmered in a simple tomato sauce until tender and a "poor man's" pasta (just flour and water) is added to make this dish a complete meal. I love the simple homemade pasta that is made by just using flour and water, rolled out, and sliced into little squares. No pasta machine required!! If you still don't want to make your own pasta, I bet you could use lasagna noodles that you smash into big pieces. This dish is actually pretty healthy, but it is rich and satisfying. These kinds of dishes are rare, so when I find one that I love, I keep it tucked away for use as often as I can.
Cod Poached in Tomato Sauce with Homemade Pasta
2 cups flour
1/4 cup water
1 lb. fillet of cod
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup white wine
1 medium onion
2 celery stalks
4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
olive oil
parsley (to garnish)

1. Put flour into the bowl of your food processor and pulse while slowing adding water until it forms a ball.
2. Take the ball out and knead it for a minute or so on a lightly floured board.
3. Wrap it with plastic and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Chop the disc in quarters and roll out each quarter as thin as you can. Almost like you are rolling out pie dough, but a bit thinner if you can.
5. Cut into 1 inch squares.
6. Add plenty of extra flour to the little squares so that they don't stick together. Set them well floured pieces aside on a clean kitchen towel.
7. To make the sauce, saute chopped onion, celery, garlic, and bay leaf in a saute pan with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly translucent.
8. Add the can of tomatoes and wine, cover, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes so that all of the flavors combine.
9. Slice the cod fillet into 1 inch cubes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
10. Add the cod pieces to the simmering sauce. You want the sauce to be simmering on low because you want to slowly poach the cod, not boil it rapidly. The cod takes about 6 minutes to cook and the pasta takes about 4 minutes so add the pasta after about 2 minutes.
11. Shake the excess flour off the pasta and add it to the sauce. Allow to cook in the sauce. They will only take 2-3 minutes since they are fresh. (If you are using crushed up lasagna noodles instead, you need to cook them in boiling water first and then add them to the sauce.)
12. Cook until the pasta is tender and the cod flakes apart easily. Top with chopped parsley and enjoy!

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