Tag Archives: pasta al tonno

Pasta al Tonno II (Black olive variation – freezeable!)

8 May

A while back I tried out a pasta with tuna recipe on my son. It had green olives and capers, as well, so we are not talking about subdued flavors off the kiddie menu. He loved it, because he is not a kiddie menu type of kid (except for the macaroni and cheese and those portions are anyway TOO SMALL) so I decided to try another variation (actually the one I first learned from Susana Villanova in Italy, way back when and still one of my favorites) AND an experiment.

I saved half the sauce to see if it would freeze well.

Add or subtract olives as you see fit!

Leandro thought it was great the first time and had seconds, plus lunch the next day! Two weeks later, I defrosted the second pint in the fridge and made it up for a dinner. Success! It was just as good, if not better, and I got a dinner and lunch out of it for the little guy.

Fast, cheap, and hearty! Easy too, except for trying to keep him from using his hands and then wiping them off on his clothes….This will be a new emergency staple (notice – all of these are pantry ingredients except maybe the onion – which is pretty much a pantry item around here!)

Good for boys and girls and grown-ups too!

Pasta al tonno II (with black olives)

1 lb of long flat thin pasta (I like fettucine, but linguine or thick spaghetti will work fine; half this if you are going to freeze half the sauce for later)

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 small to medium onion, chopped fine

28 oz can crushed or peeled and chopped tomatoes

6 oz can of light or white tuna (I use water packed, but you can use oil-packed if you drain. I do not drain the water-packed tuna)

20-30 pitted black olives, sliced

Teaspoon of dry oregano/parsley/basil or Tbs fresh (optional)

Salt to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a  medium pot on medium-high until fragrant. Add onions, stir to coat and lower heat to medium low. Allow to soften — about five minutes. Add tomato and bring to a simmer – about five minutes. Add tuna and olives, salt and herbs to taste and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes (15-20 if you have time). Mix into cooked pasta and serve.

If you plan to freeze half the sauce, put in a freezer-safe container. It will stay nice at least a couple of weeks.


Pasta al Tonno – tuna, olives, and capers in red sauce

14 Jan

Back in the 90s, pasta was the staple food of single women and gay men. “The Italians don’t get fat and they eat it every day,” was part of the reasoning (not getting fat being one of the particular obsessions of single women and gay men for reasons that are probably obvious).

Then there was the speed and efficiency of pasta; if you can boil water and saute garlic (or open a jar), you can probably put together a pre-club, pre-booze meal even while doing your pre-club ablutions and outfit selection (and mixing a pre-club cocktail — or two — while blowdrying).

Finally, pasta was a perfectly acceptable dish to serve guests for a dinner party; if you grated your own Parmigiano Reggiano and the sauce included mushrooms — and there was plenty of wine –, why you were practically a gourmet chef! What could be more right?

Pasta al Tonno – one of the fastest pasta dishes known to man. Tuna and olives (green or black!)

Then The Dark Cloud of Carbohydrate Catastrophe descended upon single-woman-and-gay-mankind.

The devious Italians had tricked us by using less sauce, lighter sauce, only having one serving, and actually walking places to stay thin. We flocked to the safety of sliced steak and mesclun salad to contain our belly fat.

Now that I am a mom, pasta is back in my life. The aforementioned speed and efficiency is critical, the leftovers-for-lunch potential unparalleled, and so is pasta’s ability to be the receptacle for so many healthy vegetables that might otherwise languish on the side of a little kid’s plate, a line in the sand of Who-Is-Really-In-Charge-Here Beach, a combustible place where any parental victory is likely a Pyrrhic one.

But for a long time I was pretending not to eat the pasta I was making for Leandro. I say pretending, because, as so many moms, I was tasting to the point of having no meal left to serve at the table and finishing whatever he left on his plate – you know, all the bad little mommy habits that lead to the dreaded belly fat and the matronly figure before one’s appointed time.

So enough of the bullshit and the pretending. I am making pasta dishes that I like and eating them with my son like the civilized human being that I am (and hoping to once again have that slim, single-pasta-eating-woman of the 90s figure).

This is one of the fast dishes I learned to make in Italy (where I lived for two years, acquiring pasta skills for the 90s), slightly modified to reflect my Latin pantry. I made it for Leandro for the first time this week and he loved it and I loved it and BASTA! Enough talk – here’s the recipe!

Pasta al Tonno I (serves four; cooking and prep 20 minutes)

1 lb. pasta of your choice (this sauce clings and is also chunky, so most medium shapes – long or short – will suit)

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

½ Cup onion, chopped fine

(2-3 anchovies packed in oil, optional; use paper towels to sop up excess oil)

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

10 pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained indifferently and sliced

2 tsp capers, drained indifferently

5 oz can tuna packed in water, not drained (you should drain it if using tuna packed in oil)

Salt to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium-large saucepan at medium high until oil is fragrant. Add onions, stir to coat, then lower heat to medium-low. When onions are translucent, add optional anchovies, breaking up with your spoon. Add crushed tomatoes and stir to mix. Stir in olives and capers and simmer for five minutes. Add tuna (with water from can), stir to combine and break up. Simmer for an additional five minutes. Add cooked pasta to saucepan and stir to combine. Salt to taste and serve. This dish doesn’t really require grated cheese, but go ahead and try it with Parmigiano Reggiano if you like! Serve with crusty bread for dipping.

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