Monkfish Ragù

Briny monkfish takes you from ragùs to riches
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We’re all about a big bowl of pasta here at TT, so you better believe we are always on the lookout for great sauces. And recently, chef Paul C. Reilly of Coperta in Denver shared a recipe for the ragù sauce you never thought to make: He grinds monkfish with pork fatback to make a white wine-heavy ragù that will add the perfect seafood brininess to your next bowl of pasta.

We love this dish with fresh pappardelle, allowing the ragù to get caught between the twists of noodles. When you’re grinding the fish, make sure the grinder is extremely cold so that the fish and fatback don’t just mash through the machine. Simply pop the metal grinder into the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before grinding—it will make your life a little easier.

To learn more, read “5 Tips to Master Fresh Pasta.”

Monkfish Ragù

Recipe adapted from Paul C. Reilly, Coperta, Denver, CO

Yield: 5 cups

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes


2 pounds monkfish tails, cut into 1-inch pieces

¾ pound pork fatback, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

½ medium carrot, finely chopped

½ fennel bulb, finely chopped

1 cup white wine

½ cup crushed tomatoes

¼ cup water

1 thyme sprig

One 2-inch Parmesan rind

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Using a meat grinder fitted with a large die, grind the monkfish and pork fatback according to the manufacturer’s directions, then set aside.

2. In a 6-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, carrot and fennel, and sweat until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the ground fish mixture and cook, stirring to break it up, until opaque, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Add the wine, tomatoes, water, thyme and Parmesan rind, then bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces to 5 cups, 1 hour.

4. Discard the thyme sprig and Parmesan rind, then season with salt and pepper. Serve over fresh pasta, such as pappardelle. If not using immediately, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

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