I’m just going to say it: tuna pasta does not look appetizing. Maybe to others, it doesn’t even sound appetizing. But I grew up eating it, and it’s a cinch to make, so it’s one of those things that I turn to when I’m lacking in dinner ideas. It’s a real cupboard meal, using ingredients that you probably have stocked in your kitchen and freezer.
The tomato-based pasta sauce has two cans of tuna and one tin of anchovies, which might lead some people to think that it’s a cousin to the puttanesca. But my version is lacking a key ingredient of puttanesca: olives (I really don’t like olives), so it’s not fair to compare it. It might look like a bastardized version of bolognese, with tuna instead of meat, but it’s not as thick. So it’s not tuna puttanesca, it’s not tuna bolognese, it’s just… tuna pasta.
Before I share the easy recipe, I wanted to first share a few of my latest good eats. This is the fourth installment of my Good Eats Series, where I share some some of the great foods I’ve enjoyed but were previously undocumented. This installment includes a lot of eggs, a couple of drinks, and an adorable chocolate dessert.
If you follow me on Instagram (or even if you just look at the side bar of photos on the right —>), you’ll notice that I’ve been eating a lot of eggs. I’ve made no secret of my love for these incredible edibles and when I’m eating out for breakfast, brunch, or even lunch, I usually order eggs. The photo above is a cup of the cheesy grits from Clover Food Lab, one of Boston’s most popular food trucks that opened up a few brick-and-mortar locations. The grits are available only on weekends for breakfast during the colder months, which makes sense because it’s a hot and heavy breakfast: cheesy grits topped with a pat of butter and a soft boiled egg, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. I always get a small cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice, too.
This plate of huevos rancheros is from Lone Star Taco Bar, which in my opinion is Allston’s best restaurant. They recently started serving brunch (everyday until 4 pm) and this was the first item I tried off the brunch menu. These huevos rancheros (two fresh tortillas, fried eggs, house beans, ranchero sauce, avocado, queso fresco) were as good as my other favorites from Lone Star. I usually get the carnitas taco and my co-workers and I always share the chili con queso, but now I want to try the other brunch items.
PS – if you check out the Lone Star Taco Bar website, you’ll see some of my photos!
These eggs are from Russell House Tavern and they are the prettiest deviled eggs I’ve ever seen (and ate). This order of deviled local farm eggs has white anchovies, oil-cured olives and chili oil. Russell House is the restaurant that I go to the most frequently; I’ve had many dinners and brunches and even holiday meals there and I am always so happy with the food. It’s always one of the first restaurants I recommend to friends… and strangers.
If you’re a fan of my Facebook Page, you might have seen me post about this little bottle of coconut water. I love coconut anything, and I miss the fresh coconut juice with shards of coconut flesh from the Philippines. Coconut water has become my routine post-yoga drink because it’s a natural source of electrolytes – which is crucial to help me rehydrate after a hot yoga session. I’ve tried many other brands, and have gotten used to the taste which is actually pretty far from the taste of fresh coconut juice. However this little bottle from Harmless Harvest contains 100% raw coconut water (not heated, unlike the other brands) and it tastes like a fresh coconut was just hacked in front of me, and the juice poured into the bottle.
My good friends Val and Louie just came back from Portugal, and brought back some liqueur and other treats with them. Pictured above are white chocolate liqueur and cherry liqueur. The cherry liqueur, called ginja, is traditionally served in little edible chocolate cups – you can see a few at the left corner. I love the idea – and the taste! – of the sour cherry liqueur and the tiny chocolate shot glasses. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to drink it as a shot, or to sip it slowly though. I’ll leave it up to you to guess which method I did.
I bought the cutest mini chocolate cheesecake from the 7 Ate 9 Bakery stall at the farmer’s market. 7 Ate 9 makes delicious cheesecakes and delivers them directly to your home or business in the greater Boston area. I’ve tried several flavors already, and I really like the classic flavor and the chocolate. The mini cheesecakes are the perfect size for a little treat, but they also make full sized cheesecakes. You can buy these cheesecakes online and they are currently at the Somerville Winter Farmers Market.
And now for the tuna pasta recipe…
The sauce is packed with strong flavors – I used tuna with chipotle and olive oil (look for it in the International Food/Mexican section of your grocery store), salty anchovies, garlic, shallots, and a prepared vodka sauce which I received in the gift bag from the Boston Wine Expo blogger event a few months ago. I then threw in some frozen broccoli and I would’ve added some spinach too, if I had any. The beauty of this recipe is that it’s easy to customize with things you already have, and flavors you really like. You can try adding olives, capers, mushrooms, basil, oregano, white beans, fresh tomatoes, even green peas. Try experimenting with different cheese/toppings too. Here I used grated Parmesan, but I prefer it with grated sharp cheddar. I’m thinking a breadcrumb gremolata would work, too.
Tuna Pasta with Red Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small shallot
4 cloves garlic
2 cans tuna with chipotle and olive oil
1 tin anchovies
2 cups prepared vodka sauce
2 cups broccoli
12 oz pasta
Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cool water; set aside.
In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add anchovies, breaking up the fillets with a wooden spoon until they melt into the oil. Add tuna and saute everything together, until tuna lightly browns, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook frozen broccoli according to package directions.
Add vodka sauce and broccoli to tuna mixture, and simmer for 10 minutes. Top with cheese, if preferred.
Tell me about your recent Good Eats in the comments section!