Cod with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Arborio Rice

A garlic-tomato sauce for cod gets Sicilian flavor from orange zest and saffron.


    • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    • 3 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
    • 5 oregano sprigs
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Zest of 1 orange, in 1-inch-wide strips, plus finely grated zest, for garnish
    • 5 bay leaves
    • 3 whole cloves
    • 1 cup arborio rice
    • Four 4-ounce skinless cod or halibut fillets
    • Chopped parsley, for garnish


  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and saffron and cook over moderate heat until the tomatoes just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano and season with salt and black pepper. Cook the sauce over moderately low heat, stirring and crushing the tomatoes with a spoon, until the sauce is thickened and the liquid is reduced, about 35 minutes. Discard the oregano.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, combine the orange zest strips, bay leaves, cloves, rice and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and cook until the rice is al dente, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain the rice, discarding the zest, bay leaves and cloves. Return the rice to the pot. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt.
  3. Nestle the cod in the tomato sauce and cook, turning the fillets once, until just opaque throughout, about 12 minutes.
  4. Spoon the rice into bowls and top with the cod and sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and finely grated orange zest and serve.