Tagliatelle in a fish and yoghurt sauce with fiery butter

“Despite most people reviewing this product giving it to their cats (how very Waitrose), this fish [coley] is also very good for human consumption.”

-Reviewer on the Waitrose site


This dish has a lot going for it, most important of all being that it is awfully good. The Chief Taster raves about it – he loves the combination of the fish and the creamy sauce which is not too rich and cloying.

You can make this dish with the very plainest of frozen white fish fillets – even boil-in-a-bag will do. And as the reviewer above comments, if you can’t find cod, the coley will do.

You can also make most of this ahead of time – cook the fish, and keep it moist in some of the poaching milk; make the sauce, minus the yoghurt. When you want to eat take the yogurt out of the fridge, heat the sauce, cook the pasta, add the yoghurt to the sauce – if it makes the sauce too cold, heat very gently (you don’t want the yoghurt to separate). And serve with the fiery butter, which takes just seconds.

Incredibly, if you have any leftover this dish heats up, pasta included (plunge into boiling water for a minute or two to reheat), really quite well.


pasta with fish sauce recipe
The first thing to do is to take the yoghurt and mascarpone out of the fridge and get them up to room temperature.


Recipe for tagliatelle in a fish and yoghurt sauce with fiery butter

Serves 2


  • 200g/7 oz white fish portions – coley or cod is fine – get boil in a bag if you can
  • 480ml/2 cups of milk for poaching if you can’t find boil in a bag
  • 8 baby plum tomatoes
  • 80g/3 oz chopped pancetta
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a few grinds of nutmeg
  • olive oil for frying
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt (you can do this later)
  • 6 tbsps/a generous ⅓ cup mascarpone
  • 120ml/½ cup Greek yoghurt
  • couple of walnuts of butter
  • ¼ tsp Aleppo pepper…or more, according to taste
  • 2 tbsps rosé vermouth


  1. Take the yoghurt and mascarpone out of the fridge.
  2. Peel and chop the onion and fry gently together with the pancetta, two bay leaves and cinnamon (break the cinnamon into two pieces) – this could take 20 minutes or so.
  3. Meanwhile cook the fish according to the packet instructions, or, if you have just got plain fillets, place them, from frozen, in a small pan and cover with milk with a couple more bay leaves and a few grinds of black pepper and of nutmeg. Bring to boil, and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer – as the French would say, pour faire sourire, the tiny bubbles just breaking gently on the surface, for 8-10 minutes. If the milk doesn’t cover the fish, turn it halfway through.
  4. Once cooked, flake the fish and set aside, covered in foil to keep it warm. Retain the poaching milk.
  5. If you are serving this immediately (ie, not making the sauce ahead of time), boil a full kettle and cook the tagliatelle according to the packet instructions.
  6. Crush the garlic with salt, and add to the onion.
  7. Halve the tomatoes and add to the onion. Add the vermouth.
  8. In a small, pretty, non-metallic bowl melt the butter on a low heat in the microwave for about half a minute, and stir in the Aleppo pepper.
  9. Reduce the heat under the onion mix; add the fish; and the remains of the poaching milk (about 80ml/⅓ cup – if you have more, reserve this until you see how dry the final sauce is).then add the mascarpone – stir in. (You can stop the cooking here if you are making the sauce ahead of time – when you want to eat, reheat, and add the room temperature yoghurt to the just cooked pasta).
  10. Then take the pan off the heat and add the yoghurt. If it looks a bit dry still, add a little of the poaching milk.
  11. Mix into the just drained tagliatelle.
  12. Serve, together with the fiery butter.


pasta with fish sauce recipe
Simmer gently – ‘pour faire sourire’.


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