Spaghetti with mullet sauce

When a was a kid this was one of my favorite pasta, it is one of those “sunday with your family” dishes that takes you back in time! The peculiar thing in this recipe is the type of fish used, those little mullets that, here in Italy, are mostly available in November. Usually i buy a lot of mullets and then freeze them, to prepare this dish even when it’s hard to find this them.
Another important thing is that you won’t find this recipe in any restaurant around the world, I can not remember who taught my mother how to prepare it but I know that is pretty unique. My mom is so proud of this recipe that I wanted to spread it around the world in her name :D.
As always, this recipe is easy, you just need a little confidence with the fish, but if you know well your fishmonger, I’m sure he will be glad to prepare the fish for you.

If you want to prepare the mullet fillets, you will need to take out only the central bone, all the other bones are soft and can be eaten.
You can remove the bones by cutting the fillets with a knife or even by hands.



  • 2 small red mullets per person (just 1 if they’re bigger than 10cm)
  • 400gr of tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup of single cream (if you can’t find it you can substitute with milk with a teaspoon of starch dissolved in it)
  • 1tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, pepper and chili pepper to taste
  • 400gr of spaghetti (or any other pasta you like)
  • parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic


Step 1
Bring 4lts of water to a boil, add 40gr of coarse salt and when it boils again add the spaghetti.

Step 2
While spaghetti are cooking, pour the oil on a pan with the crushed garlic and the chili pepper. Let it sizzle for 20 secs then add the tomatoes. Add salt and pepper and stir. Let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Step 3
Add the mullets fillets and crushed them with a spatula, let them cook for 5 minutes then add the cream or milk, stir well to mix evenly and then turn the heat off.

Step 4
Drain the spaghetti a couple of minutes before the cooking time, and remember to take out a cup of cooking water. Add the pasta to the pan and stir well, pour some water and cook for a minute. Add the chopped parsley and serve.