Spirulina Tortellini with Palamita Fish (Atlantic Bonito) in Cherry Tomato Sauce By Chef Roberto Sbragi

This recipe is a great source of protein, one of the benefits of using spirulina is the amount of plant-based protein you can get out of it. For those who don’t know, spirulina is a blue algae with very strong antioxidant effects, and it is one of the most environmentally efficient crops.

Palamita fish (Atlantic bonito) is a very common one here in the Mediterranean Sea and that is why I chose it. It is really important to know where your seafood comes from, how it was fished and whether it is in season or not. If you cannot get Palamita, you can easily swap it with another kind of fresh fish that is in season, and possibly rod-fished. Being aware of the seasonality of seafood is very important to avoid catching or using a kind of fish during spawning season.


  • Tortellini Dough
  • 370 gr of 00 Flour (or all-purpose Flour)
  • 30 gr of Spirulina powder
  • 4 eggs
  • Pinch of salt, splash of EVOO
  • The Filling
  • 800 gr wild rod-fished Palamita fish
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 sprig of marjoram
  • 1 pinch of white pepper
  • Splash of EVOO
  • The Sauce
  • 400 gr of fresh cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Splash of white wine
  • 1 sprig of fresh basil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Splash of EVOO


  1. Start by making the dough:

    In a large bowl or on a pastry board, add all the flour and spirulina powder, mix well together and form a well in the middle where you will add the eggs.

  2. Add the eggs, a pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil and start mixing the ingredients
    together using a fork. When the ingredients are well combined, start kneading the dough by hand
    until it becomes a nice, smooth ball; this will take approximately 15 - 20 minutes. Wrap the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, go ahead and prep your filling:

    Clean and fillet the fish, making sure to not leave meat around the spine; keep the head, bones and fins to make a great fish stock.

  4. Remove the skin off the fillets and finely dice the meat, put in a bowl and add a splash of olive oil, a pinch of salt, some finely chopped marjoram leaves and the zest of one lime. Mix well and refrigerate.

  5. At this point, you can proceed by making the pasta sauce:

    In a pan, heat up some olive oil, add 2 cloves of crushed garlic and when it starts to sizzle add the cherry tomatoes, let cook on high heat for 2 - 3 minutes then add a splash of white wine and keep stirring until all the alcohol evaporates.

  6. Reduce the heat to low, add a splash of water, season with salt and cover with a lid. Let cook for 10 - 15 minutes, turn off the heat and add the basil leaves, stir and set aside.

  7. Make Tortellini:

    Stretch the dough either with a rolling pin or with a pasta machine into very thin sheets and lay them flat on a board. Using a round pasta cutter (or cookie cutter), cut as many rounds as possible out of your pasta sheets, then add little clumps of filling in the middle of each round. Now, very gently fold the round in half and press the ends together tightly, making sure to keep the filling from spilling out, then grab the two corners of the now-semicircle and fold them on top of one another, press firmly: congratulations, you’ve made your first tortellino!

  8. Proceed and do the same with all the other rounds until you’re finished. Cook the tortellini in salted boiling water for 4-5 minutes or until they start floating, drain and add to the sauce on medium-high heat, sauté for one minute and serve.

How do you encourage diverse ocean ingredients in your menus?

The Mediterranean Sea is extremely rich in marine life. It counts over 17000 thousand species, hundreds of which are edible, yet only a few are targeted and consumed. Working on the west coast of Italy, it is fairly easy for us to get fresh ingredients from our sea on a daily basis, but there are many things to keep in mind when choosing what to buy and when selecting a supplier. Encouraging diverse ocean ingredients in our menus definitely starts with choosing a good supplier, a fisher you can trust.

There are plenty of small fisheries out there that know very well and respect the marine environment. They know and follow the seasonality of species and can ensure a diverse supply with absolutely zero by catch. That, in practice, could translate to having a “catch of the day” dish option and a flexible menu or at least part of it that varies based on the products you’re able to get on each day.

Why you are passionate about protecting our oceans?

Growing up in Italy, surrounded by beautiful beaches and pristine waters, I’ve always been in love with the sea. The more you get to know, the more you become aware of the fact that our oceans are ecosystems that require a lot of care and respect. The reason why I am passionate about protecting the ocean is not because it sustains our lives by providing us with over half of the oxygen we breathe or because it regulates the world’s climate. It’s simply because I am part of it. We are all part of that beautiful, incredibly diverse ecosystem, we are it and we have the responsibility to look after it. Taking action is very simple and it doesn’t take much effort. We could all start by buying our sea produce consciously and curiously, asking where it comes from and how it was watched, and then act upon it.

Follow the Action