I got a slap on the wrist the night I made this dish. "NO!" implored Gianna as she walked in on me taking the photo. She continued with her thick Italian accent and emotive hand gestures, "NEVER put Parmesan on the fish, are you crazy?!" In the words of Billy Joel, she may be right. I may be crazy. Consider it lesson learned, but this smoked mackerel and homemade spaghetti was a return to pasta making glory days. Smokey, fishy, filling. Top. Notch. Recipe follows.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
250g Hot Smoked Mackerel
400g Crushed Italian Tomatoes
1 Bunch of Curly Parsley, finely minced (minced amount, about a cup)
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
2 White Onions, peeled and finely sliced
1 Cup of White Wine
1 Bunch of Fresh Thyme (bundle together with some string!)
1 Teaspoon of Spanish Smoked Paprika (sorry Gianna)
2 Servings of fresh Spaghetti (however big you decide that to be)
1 teaspoon Chilli flakes (optional)
Finely flake the mackerel.
In a pot pour a generous amount of olive oil. Bring to a medium heat, then put in the garlic, onions and the bundle of thyme (chilli flakes here too, if you want). Saute for 5-10 minutes until it's nice and caramelized. Pour in the white wine. Simmer the wine away until the caramelization process starts again.
Add the mackerel to the onions. Mix it through well and start the frying process again. Once it starts to fry again, add the tomatoes, paprika and most of the parsley (some left behind for serving). Stir through and simmer down to a very thick sauce. Salt to taste.
Bring a large pot of salty water to the boil. Boil the spaghetti as per packet instructions, or if you've made it fresh, 2-3 minutes- both until al dente. Strain, but keep a little bit of the water.
For each serving, I tossed the cooked pasta in the frying pan with a ladle of the sauce, some olive oil and a spoonful of the pasta water. Mix well with tongs. I pushed it until it was sticky, then served it in a big luxurious pile, decorated with fresh parsley.