Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pantry Spaghetti with Tomato and Tuna



Tonight the pantry played an important role in my nourishment.

I returned home after a long day of work to an untidy kitchen and a near empty fridge. In situations like this, a well stocked pantry is like a quiver full of arrows. The only ingredients in this dish that did not come from the pantry were a bit of old spinach I found lurking in the back of the crisper and the last of the fresh parsley. The rest of this meal could be assembled in a fallout shelter during Armageddon.

Take note, when working with tuna it is best to work with what is called 'light' tuna as opposed to 'white'. Light tuna is a darker colour and typically is derived from a species of fish called a skipjack. These fish, because they are smaller, hold less mercury in their flesh than the white albacore tuna (there was actually a study conducted on commercially tinned tuna that determined this fact beyond a doubt). Also, I really try to avoid large apex predator fish - that means swordfish, large tuna species, marlin etc. Recently, I have seen line-caught tuna being advertised in a tin, but I have not been able to find this product yet--definitely a good thing.  When it comes to eating: little fish are better for the ocean, better for our health and I think they taste better.

Bonus: whole wheat pasta makes dinner really healthy.

Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Tuna

300 g of whole wheat spaghetti
1 tin of light tuna packed in olive oil
1 tin of San Marzano tomatoes
2 anchovy fillets
1 generous pinch of dried chili flakes
1 clove of garlic, sliced thinly
1 half an onion, chopped
1 small palm-ful of brined capers
1 handful of cherry or grape tomatoes
1 small handful of baby spinach
10 ml of tomato paste
50 ml of white wine
Olive oil for sauteeing


Get your pasta in some boiling salted water. Now, in a frying pan, sautee the onions in about 10 ml of olive oil until translucent (about four or five minutes), then add the chili flakes, garlic, and anchovies. Frizzle on a medium heat for about four or five minutes then pour in the wine and the tomato paste. Reduce the wine by about one-third.  In the mean time get your tin of tomatoes open. Strain the liquid out of the tomatoes and then start adding the tomatoes to the hot pan by squashing them in your hands (don't wear a white shirt when doing this). You want a pulpy pile of tomatoes - not soupy. The remnant liquid in the can be set aside and used to loosen up the sauce if need be. Toss all the ingredient together and allow the tomatoes to break down a bit, say two or three minutes. Then drop in the capers, the cherry tomatoes and then the spinach and allow it to wilt a bit. Finally, open and drain your tuna and get it into the sauce. Don't break the tuna up into a million pieces, be gentle and attempt to keep largish chunks whole. The tuna just needs to heat through. Drain the pasta and toss the pasta in the sauce gently so as to keep the tuna from completely shredding. Finish with another drizzle of olive oil and fresh parsley. Additional chilies are perfect if you like it spicy. Don't even entertain the thought of sprinkling cheese on this. Just don't do it.

Post Script: Yes, Chris, that is your tea towel.

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