Pasta col tonno

At a restaurant not far from home last night, I was surprised to be served a dish made up of polenta accompanied by a tomato sauce and tuna – most unusual and very good too. Upon closer inspection, it transpired that that the tuna was not the fresh kind but, rather, the tuna that is packed in oil – you know, the kind one always keeps in the pantry for salads or for those just-in-case emergency occasions when a very hungry stomach (or two) will fight a very convincing battle with the brain when it presumes to think that cooking can’t be paramount on one’s list of priorities. And that is time to make a pasta and tuna dish so that both stomach and brain will be appeased. The ingrediens: some pasta, a jar of tuna packed in olive oil, a jar of tomato sauce, garlic, anchovy fillets and any fresh, green herb you may have around … in this case it was some marjoram. When one is in a hurry, it is best to think slowly and act quickly … so take a moment to ‘orchestrate’ the necessary steps.  First things first: put the water on to boil and pour some olive oil into a good-sized saucepan. Peel some garlic and cut in half and put it into the saucepan together with one anchovy fillet.  Turn the heat on a low heat (we don’t want the garlic to burn to a crisp) … and then open the jar of tuna and put it through a colander, and open the jar of tomato sauce. When the garlic has turned golden and the anchovy fillet has sort of dissolved … Add the tomato sauce. Put the pasta into the boiling water … Add some salt … Add a pinch of sugar too … it is the sugar and the salt that really ‘add’ taste to any tomato sauce because both ingredients are enhancers of taste: i.e. both ingredients make any flavour taste better !  That is why a little bit of salt is added even to sweet dishes.  I defy any chef worth his hat to deny that salt has no place in the kitchen ! People are absolutely terrified of salt and this is very silly indeed.  The important thing is to use only a small amount … in fact, only the RIGHT amount.  And to those who worry about high blood pressure and all that that entails … please take the time to google around on the merits of untreated sea salt versus the very nasty chemically cleaned sodium chloride (here is one easy link to get you started: http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/salt.htm ). As the sauce sputters away merrily, add a sprig of your herbs … Followed by the tuna, drained of the oil it was preserved in … Give it a good stir, gently breaking up the tuna so that it thickens the sauce. When the pasta is almost ready (i.e. two to three minutes before the cooking time recommended on the packet), you can drain it directly into the saucepan … If the sauce is a little too thick, you can ladle in a little of the cooking water … and keep cooking the whole lot until the pasta has ‘absorbed’ all the sauce and is ready to be served. The reason I insert this somewhat unappealing photo is to show that a jar of tuna and a jar of tomato sauce and 500 g of pasta can go a long way !  It can definitely feed four very hungry people … Ready to eat … and it took just over 15 minutes from start to finish.  (For your information, the above pasta is the kind that takes 12 minutes to cook.)  There is nothing like a plate of pasta to placate a hungry belly AND a brain that thinks it’s too busy to cook …

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About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in Basic Techniques, Fish and seafood, Herbs and plants, italian home food, Primi (first courses - usually a pasta or risotto) and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Pasta col tonno

  1. Liz Macri says:

    You are so right when you say that this recipe is a life saver!
    I have prepared this dish so many times when I just didn’t have time to shop.
    And I love the idea of the thyme in the recipe…I’ll try it next time.

  2. Pingback: Pasta al Tonno – Variation | My Home Food That's Amore

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