Tomato Cod Pasta
Inspired by a dish I had in Puglia, Italy, this tomato cod pasta is simple and nutritious. White fish is poached and flaked in the homemade tomato sauce, seasoned with fresh herbs, garlic, and chili flakes. You can have this delicious dinner ready in about 40-minutes!
I spent a lovely week exploring Puglia this past summer, and one of the dishes I made a note of recreating was called “paccheri alla gallinella.” It was a tomato-based fish pasta that was incredibly simple, yet flavourful! Upon further research, the “gallinella” refers to the type of fish (“gurnard”) and “paccheri” refers to the shape of pasta.
I wanted to modify this recipe to reflect the ingredients I regularly cook with, or ones more commonly found in North America. Thus, this tomato cod pasta was born!
The fish pasta sauce is made in one pan, cooking the tomatoes first before adding in the cod. The cod will cook in the tomato sauce in under 10 minutes, after which you can flake it up with your spatula. Stir in your favourite pasta shape (bonus points if you can find “paccheri” – I had to make do with rigatoni!) and dig in 🙂
Looking for more dietitian-designed, healthy seafood pasta recipes? You may also enjoy my fan-favourite mediterranean canned mackerel pasta (with 90 5-star reviews!), this tuna tomato pasta bake, or my shrimp pesto pasta!
About the ingredients + possible substitutions
- Cod: I used fresh Atlantic cod for this recipe, but you are welcome to use a similar white fish, like halibut. You will need roughly 340g or 12 ounces.
- Diced tomatoes: You will need 2 cups of diced tomatoes with their liquids for this recipe. Purchasing a 28 ounce or 796 ml can of diced tomatoes will be adequate!
- Cherry or grape tomatoes: For some variety, I love to mix the canned tomatoes with some fresh tomatoes. I recommend purchasing vine-ripened tomatoes whenever possible as they have the best flavour. Using the yellow variety was a nice way to add some more colour.
- Olive oil
- Garlic: I added freshly minced garlic to the tomato sauce for lots of flavour.
- Fresh parsley: Both fresh parsley and basil are chopped up and added to the sauce at the end.
- Fresh basil
- Chili flakes: Chili flakes (red pepper flakes) add a little kick of spice to this pasta. The amount I’ve used is very mild, but you can always add more if you want things hotter.
- Pasta of choice: I used rigatoni for this recipe, but you may use any pasta shape that you’d like (including longer shapes, like spaghetti). If you can find it, the original inspiration for this recipe used paccheri pasta. Sadly, I did not find it to be widely available in stores near me.
- Parmesan (optional topping): While not necessary, I love this topped with some freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano.
Full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions are located in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!
Visual guide: how to make cod pasta
STEP 1: While you’ve got a pot of water boiling for the pasta, you can start making the tomato sauce. You’ll begin by cooking minced garlic and chili flakes in olive oil, then adding in both canned, diced tomatoes and cherry or grape tomatoes.
STEP 2: Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes, pressing down on the cherry tomatoes so that they burst. The sauce will start to reduce and thicken.
STEP 3: Add the uncooked cod to the tomato sauce, then cover it with a lid. Allow the cod to cook in the sauce for about 6-10 minutes.
STEP 4: When it’s cooked, the cod will be opaque and flake easily. Break the cod up into pieces using a spatula.
STEP 5: Then, stir in the freshly chopped parsley and basil.
STEP 6: Finally, stir in your cooked pasta of choice. That’s it!
Cod nutrition benefits
Cod is an excellent source of complete protein. A 3-ounce serving packs in 19 grams, with a 6-ounce serving (as used in this recipe) providing 38 grams!
Both Atlantic and Pacific cod are also good sources of B-vitamins, like:
- vitamin B12
- vitamin B6
Cod is also rich in minerals like:
While it may not contain as high amounts as fattier fish (like salmon), cod is still a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Tomato nutrition benefits
Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C and other phytochemicals that act as antioxidants, like lycopene and beta-carotene.
These antioxidants help to reduce risk of many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer. They also have other beneficial effects, such as promoting skin health.
In addition, tomatoes are a good source of:
- dietary fiber (important for gut health)
- potassium (important for blood pressure control)
- folate (important for normal tissue growth + cell function)
- vitamin K (important for blood clotting + bone health)
More white fish recipes
- Poached Halibut With Tomato Coconut Curry
- Baked Herb Crusted Cod
- Mediterranean Baked Black Cod (Sablefish)
- Quick Baked Halibut With Herbs
- Baked Sheet Pan Cod Dinner
Did you give this Tomato Cod Pasta Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!
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Get the Recipe: Tomato Cod Fish Pasta (Simple & Healthy)
- Approx. 170 grams pasta of choice (approx. 6 ounces)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes (or more if you want more spice)
- 2 cups canned diced tomatoes, with liquids (purchasing a 28 ounce or 796 ml can will be more than enough!)
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (vine ripened for best flavour)
- Approx. 340 grams cod fish (approx. 12 ounces)
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Approx. 10 large leaves fresh basil, chopped
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- Optional: fresh parmesan to serve
- PREP: Mince garlic and chop fresh herbs. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain when finished.
- While the pasta water boils, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high. Add minced garlic and chili flakes, cooking for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add canned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring and pressing down on the cherry tomatoes so that they burst. The sauce will start to reduce and thicken.
- Then, place the cod into the center of the tomato sauce. Cover the pan with a lid, and allow the cod to cook for 6-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. It should be fully opaque and flake easily when done.
- Using the back of a spatula, break the fish up into pieces in the sauce. Turn off the heat, then stir in chopped parsley and basil.
- Add drained pasta to the tomato sauce and toss well to combine. Season as needed, then serve with fresh parmesan if desired. Enjoy!
- I used fresh Atlantic cod for this recipe, but you are welcome to use a similar white fish, like halibut.
- I used rigatoni for this recipe, but you may use any pasta shape that you’d like (including longer shapes, like spaghetti). If you can find it, the original inspiration for this recipe used paccheri pasta – it’s similar to rigatoni, but with a flatter tube!
- While not necessary, I love this topped with some freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano. If you don’t eat dairy, you can leave this out or use a dairy-free parmesan alternative.
As a dietitian, I create recipes with whole food ingredients that provide the nutrients needed for optimal health. My nutrition philosophy does not focus on numbers; however, I understand that this information can be helpful.
Do note that the nutrition info provided is an estimate and I cannot guarantee correctness of the displayed values. These numbers will differ depending on brands used, recipe modifications, and amount eaten. If you require specific nutrition information due to medical reasons, please consult with your dietitian or physician.