Pasta with Creamy Salt Cod Sauce

At Marea, Michael White is revered for his use of seafood, as in this lush pasta sauce with pureed potato, salt cod and speck (a cured and smoked Italian bacon). He even adds cod tripe (from the lining of the cod's stomach) to the finished dish. In place of the hard-to-find speck, use prosciutto. Omit the tripe altogether. More Seafood Recipes

Active Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
1 hr


  • 8 ounces salt cod fillet, rinsed

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 1 Yukon Gold potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

  • One 4-ounce piece of prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

  • 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 pound penne


  1. Put the salt cod fillet in a large pot of cold water, cover and refrigerate for 2 days. Drain the fish and pat dry. Cut the fish into 1-inch pieces.

  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the onion and half of the garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the salt cod and cook until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the potato and 2 cups of water and simmer until the potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cod and vegetables to a blender along with 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Blend until very smooth.

  3. Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in it. Add the scallions and the remaining garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the prosciutto, peas, parsley and lemon zest. Stir in the cod puree, cover and keep warm.

  4. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and cooking water to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the pasta is coated with a thick creamy sauce, about 2 minutes. Transfer the pasta to bowls and serve right away.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat the salt cod sauce before mixing with the pasta.

Suggested Pairing

Rich Tuscan white: 2009 Rocca delle Macie Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

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