Lemony Pasta with Smoked Fish and Capers

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Appears in

Monday-to-Friday Cookbook

Monday-to-Friday Cookbook

By Michele Urvater

Published 1991

  • About

Nubbins of tubettini—squat, Winch ¼ hollow noodles—take on a somewhat Sicilian identity when combined with an amalgam of smoked oysters, sardines, capers, and lemon juice. If you have a fat bunch of fresh parsley on hand, you can mince the leaves and add them at the end to make the recipe taste even better.

I’ve made this recipe for just 2 because the taste is quite exotic and you should make it in a small batch first to see if you like it. If you do, next time double the ingredients to serve 4.


  • Salt
  • 1 ⅓ cups tubettini or orzo
  • Leaves from 1 big fat bunch fresh parsley (optional but preferable)
  • 1 can (3 to 4 ounces) smoked oysters, mussels, or clams packed in oil
  • 1 can ( ounces) smoked sardines packed in oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse and stem the parsley. Coarsely chop the parsley in a food processor. Add the oysters and sardines with their oil, the lemon juice, and capers; process briefly just until coarsely chopped. (You can also chop by hand, but this is easier.)
  3. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot, off the heat. Add the smoked fish mixture and toss the ingredients until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, before the ingredients cool too much.


Smoked Fish Pasta with Raisins: This is an even more authentic Sicilian combination: Steep ¼ cup raisins, preferably golden, in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Use 2 cans smoked sardines and omit the other smoked shellfish and lemon juice.

Toss the lemon-steeped raisins and sardine mixture with the cooked pasta.

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