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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuna, Pepper and Olive Pasta

One of my favorite magazine sections is Fine Cooking's Make it Tonight.  I always get one or two great ideas for weeknight dinners.  This month's edition is no exception.  We made a pasta that was great and have a tilapia with orange salsa on the menu for next week. 

Our plan on Friday evening was to head to The Tamale Place.  Guy Fieri visited there on a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives segment.  Our next stop was going to be Final Friday at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Both are pretty far west of us so it made sense to combine the trip.  Then, Thursday evening we had an ice storm.  Supposedly on Friday the temps were to get high enough to melt the ice.  They didn't.  Main roads were fine.  Side streets pretty treacherous.  And, who knew what the parking lots and sidewalks would be like?  Felt like an excuse to have a quiet evening at home.  Actually, it didn't take much of anything to convince us that we wanted to be at home -lol. 

Now, I had to come up with dinner.  Connie suggested chicken parmesan from the latest Cooks Illustrated.  Alas, we had no boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the freezer.  After we got in the car for the trip home I opened my Fine Cooking.  There it was!  Pasta with peppers, tomato and tuna.  Oh, and olives.  Flavors we love. 

We got home and I started pulling cans and jars out of the pantry.  Yup, you read that right.  This is the perfect pantry dish for us. We always have all of the ingredients on hand. 

Peppers, olives and sun-dried tomatoes got chopped.  Tuna and tomatoes got opened.  The pasta water was bubbling away.  Time to figure out a salad.  Connie loves hearts of palm.  We had a jar of them.  We both love blue cheese.  There were kiwis and Brianna's Poppyseed dressing to be used up.  So, what if I peeled and mashed the kiwis and mixed them in the salad dressing?  Time to test that theory.  We both loved the dressing.  The kiwis added a little bit of a citrus note.  Took some of the sweetness away.  Our salads were ready to go.  Might I note here that it is incredibly difficult to type with a very active kitten on one's lap... 

The pasta sauce came together in no time.  We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner!

Tuna, Pepper and Olive Pasta
serves 4-6


2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
1 c olives, coarsely chopped (you can use a mix of black and green - I used kalamata and green)
1/2 c diced jarred roasted red peppers
2 T coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, including juice
2 5-oz cans tuna in oil, drained
2 T finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (we didn't have any and I wouldn't substitute dried so I omitted this)
1/2 - 1 lb dried penne rigate or other short, sturdy pasta


Start your pasta water - not the pasta, just the water.  Lightly cook the garlic in the olive oil.  You just want to get the garlic to release it's flavors, not brown.  Add the olives, peppers and sun-dried tomatoes and cook on medium heat for a few minutes. 

Pour in the tomatoes and their juice.  Use a fork to crush them just a little bit.  Cook the sauce for about ten minutes.  Now, it's time to start the pasta.  Add the tuna to the sauce and cook it for 5-10 minutes.  The original recipe called for adding 1/2 c of the pasta water to the sauce.  I didn't think that was necessary so use your own judgment.  And, although the recipe called for a pound of pasta, we used half a pound and found it was the right amount for us.  We also tried this with and without a bit of grated parmesan on top and both of us concurred the dish doesn't need anything else.  Last but not least, this made a fabulous cold pasta salad for lunch the next day.

adapted from Fine Cooking


Debra Eliotseats said...

The best laid plans....
We have been pretty lucky here with our winter weather. I don't envy ya'all up north! :)

Hope you can make it to The Tamale Place. I love visiting local places like that.

Liz Berg said...

I got my mussels at Joe's they were frozen, but convenient. LOVE, love this pasta dish...and maybe it would be a hit with Bill, too, as he loves tuna casserole :/ And this would be SO much better.

We're visiting Bill's parents right now. His dad had an unexpected diagnosis of metatatic lung cancer. A complete shock as he quit smoing in 1963 and has been the healthiest of our 4 parents. His time is limited, so we wanted to bring Nick to see him over spring break.

Hope we can catch up soon...I'm crazy busy with the show house right now, but when that's over, I'm scaling down my volunteering. Hope you and Connie are having a relaxing weekend. xo