Monkfish Mac and Cheese
Monkfish Mac and Cheese is a fabulously flavorful variation on Lobster Mac. Sustainably sourced monkfish is delicious and easy to prepare in a variety of ways. Although any firm, flaky fish can be used, monkfish's lobster-like flavor is perfect in this creamy pasta dish highlighted with peas and pancetta! Enjoy!
salt and pepper to taste
sweet paprika (optional)
1 cup dry gamelli or penne pasta (about 4 ounces)
1/2-1 tablespoon olive oil as needed
1/2 cup pancetta - finely chopped (about 2 ounces)
2-3 whole shallots- peeled and finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 cup heavy cream- at room temp
5 - 5-1/2 ounces Camembert or Brie cheese- rind lightly trimmed
1.5 ounces Parmesan cheese- freshly grated (about ¾ cup lightly packed)
1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped (roughly 2 cloves)
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
fresh dill for garnish
Bring a covered pot of salted water to boil over medium-high heat. Cook pasta to al dente. Drain all but a couple of tablespoons of pasta water. Stir cooked pasta well, cover, and set aside.
To prepare the monkfish, remove any membrane and cut into evenly sized chunks. Season one side of the chunks very lightly with salt, pepper, and sweet paprika (if using; for color). Place fish in refrigerator while preparing the rest of the dish.
Warm a non-stick sauce pan or skillet over medium heat. Add chopped pancetta and cook until lightly crispy. Place cooked pancetta into a mixing bowl (roughly 10 cup capacity), and set aside. Add chopped shallots to the pan with any rendered pancetta fat, and cook just until translucent. Add cooked shallots to the bowl of cooked pancetta.
Add the heavy cream to the pan, and allow to warm over medium-low heat. Add grated Parmesan and Camembert or Brie cheese to the cream and melt, stirring continuously until smooth. Add the garlic and stir for one minute.
Place pasta (about 2 cups cooked) into bowl with pancetta and shallots, then pour the warm cheese sauce over the pasta and stir well to combine. Add some chopped fresh dill at this point if you wish. Cover the bowl and keep warm.
Clean away any remaining cheese sauce from pan. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan if needed, and cook fish for 2 – 3 minutes, then turn and cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes or just until fish becomes firm and opaque but still juicy. Internal temperature should be 145 degrees when cooked.
Add fish to warm pasta mixture and stir it all together. Garnish the finished dish with fresh dill fronds. Serve with a fresh green salad and a crisp, lightly chilled Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy!
Recipe via Bacon Fatte