Italian Tuna and Pasta - Killer Combination!
|When I saw this dish on one of my most favoritest blogger's blog I knew immediately that I'd be making it this week for dinner. The favoritest blogger? The extremely talented Patricia of Technicolor Kitchen! The dish? Pasta Shells with Italian Tuna and Artichokes! The verdict? Delish!|
Now being me, I hadda fiddle with this just a lil to give it an Italian spin and because of some personal preferences. And how easy it was to add and/or take away from what is a magnificent base recipe for my playing around fun. I had to omit the artichokes, as he won't eat them - so I subbed sliced hearts of palm instead. I had a lovely bag of baby spinach and some grape tomatoes that were screaming to be used so I tossed them in as well.. Ohhhhh God was this dish is a winner!
Granted, you must like canned tuna to dig this dish, because you really taste it. I think that was my favorite part, because to me, Italian tuna in olive oil is a special treat - especially when used in this way where it's one of the main ingredients.
The sauce on it's own was very light and flavorful. It really needed nothing else, but again.. me being me.. I added a handful of Pecorino and a few ladles of the pasta water. It made the sauce just the right kind of creamy while still keeping it light. Delish!
And so it is with great gratitude that I express my thankfulness at being lucky enough to have seen Patricia's post featuring her friend, Terry, who is the author of this recipe. After making a recipe of Patricia's and cross posting about it, this time it was Terry's turn to provide the recipe and well.. Thanks to you too, Terry! :)
Below is my take on this light and super easy pasta dish - as well as my submission to this week's Presto Pasta! hosted by the lovely, Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. =)
Pasta Shells with Italian Tuna, Grape Tomatoes & Baby Spinach
Adapted from the recipe, Pasta Shells with Italian Tuna & Artichokes by Terry & Patricia
2 6 oz. cans imported Italian tuna in olive oil
1 10.5 oz. can of hearts of palm, pre-sliced
¼ cup capers, drained (I had to omit the capers in mine as I couldn't open the damn jar!)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
1 bag of baby spinach
1/2 of carton of grape tomatoes (about 10-15)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 c. of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
12 oz. medium pasta shells
Bring a large pot of water to boil to cook pasta. While water is coming to a boil, in a large enough skillet to accomodate all ingredients (including cooked pasta) saute the garlic in a 2 tsp. of olive oil, over medium low to medium heat, until lightly golden. Add the tuna with the oil, hearts of palm & tomatoes and saute until the tomato skins slightly wrinkle, about 3 minutes.
When water comes to boil, salt it generously, then cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Right before your pasta is ready, add the baby spinach to the tuna mixture and fold until the spinach is wilted.
Using a pasta spoon or slotted spoon, transfer the shells and add them to the skillet with the tuna mixture. It's okay if you don't drain the shells completely with each transfer. Alternately, you can drain the shells in a colander, just keep a 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water to make the sauce. Once you've transferred the shells, sprinkle the Pecorino over everything and stir until sauce is creamy. If it's dry, add a little of the pasta water in small amounts, you don't want to use so much water that it washes out the wonderful flavors of this dish. Finish the dish with a sprinkling of black pepper or a few turns of a cracked pepper mill.
This makes enough for 4 servings, or 2 generous servings and a kick-ass lunch the next day! :D
*Note: Patricia and Terry did not cook the tuna mixture, but mixed it in a separate bowl big enough to accomodate the cooked pasta. Once the pasta was done, it was mixed in with the tuna mixture, or as Patricia calls it, the salsa cruda. I decided to saute all my ingredients over med heat so that my tomatoes would cook down a little and to make sure my spinach wilted properly. So either way you want to prepare this dish, you'll get excellent results.