2 ratings

Mezze Rigatoni with Swordfish and Black Olives

A perfect, easy, weeknight meal

This light and refreshing mezze rigatoni recipe from Nancy Harmon Jenkins’ and Sara Jenkins’ cookbook, The Four Seasons of Pasta, includes fresh swordfish, olive oil, tomatoes, and olives. 

Reprinted by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nancy Harmon Jenkins and Sara Jenkins, 2015.

Calories Per Serving


  • 3/4 Pounds swordfish steak, about one-inch thick
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more if needed
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 2 Cups canned whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 Teaspoon crumbled dried red chile pepper
  • 1/3 Cup coarsely chopped pitted black olives, preferably Gaeta, niçoise, or taggiasca
  • 2 Tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 Pound mezze rigatoni or other short, stubby pasta
  • 1/2 Cup mixed chopped flat-leaf parsley and fresh basil


Pat the swordfish dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and black pepper. Heat a cast-iron skillet until very hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and immediately set the swordfish in the pan, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes until a beautiful golden sear has formed on one side. Then turn over the steak and cook for 3 more minutes, by which time the swordfish should be cooked through but not overcooked. When the fish is done, remove it from the pan and set aside.

In a separate large skillet big enough to hold all the ingredients, including the pasta, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons oil with the onion and garlic and set the skillet over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, but do not let them brown. As soon as the onion and garlic are soft, add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, raise the heat, and cook rapidly until the tomatoes are thoroughly softened and melting into a sauce. Stir in the chile pepper, olives, and capers, along with about 2 cups of water. Cover the pan and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, break the swordfish into bite-size pieces.

As the tomato sauce finishes cooking, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add salt and the pasta and cook.

Stir ¼ cup of the parsley-basil mix into the tomato sauce, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Add the swordfish pieces to the sauce and continue simmering the sauce gently while the pasta cooks. Let the pasta cook for just 6 minutes. Drain, toss the pasta in the sauce, and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining ¼ cup parsley-basil mixture.