This has been a favorite recipe of mine for a while now, whenever I’m in the mood for something a bit different as a condimento for pasta. The kids love it and it’s simple and delicious. The key is not to skimp on the ingredients. The quality of the tuna and tomatoes are paramount! Here’s what you need:
Pasta alla Siciliana
1 pound spaghetti
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 small onion, diced
1 28oz can, San Marzano tomatoes (see below)
1 can Italian Yellowfin Tuna in Oil, yes oil! (see below)
2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
6 oz. toasted pine nuts
18-24 pitted Gaeta Olives
In a large saute pan, toast the pine nuts for a minute or two in a small amout of Olive Oil, remove and set aside. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the garlic and diced onion to sweat. In the meantime, crush the San Marzano tomatoes. You can use a potato masher or your hands. Once the garlic and onions have wilted, add the tomatoes and simmer about 15 minutes. You want to retain the delicate sweetness of the tomatoes. You’re not looking for that “cooked” marinara flavor here. Think light and fresh.
|If it doesn’t say “San Marzano” it isn’t!
Get the pasta going in a pot of salted water and cook until al dente. While this is cooking, drain the tuna from the oil, add to the saute pan and break up into pieces. Add the capers, the olives, and the reserved pine nuts. Once the pasta is done, combine, toss and serve. Garnish with basil.
The key here is the tuna. Italian canned tuna is Yellowfin, which is superior in quality to all domestic tuna, which is Albacore. Bluefin tuna is the best, but a can of that will set you back about $10. The yellowfin below is about $2 per can on the Arthur Avenue market and I keep it in the pantry at all times. Here’s a picture of the Flott.
|Italian Canned Flott Yellowfin Tuna
Don’t be afraid of the oil! Water packed tuna is a myth. This tuna maintains the great taste of the sea without tasting fishy. Just be sure to drain it well or the pasta ends up greasy. Spaghetti is the perfect shape for this recipe too, because as the tuna breaks into tiny pieces, it clings to the pasta.
Lastly, some crushed red pepper really brings this dish it’s authenticity. My guests® love this dish! The next time I make it – I promise to have a picture to post. Woefully deficient, I am.