Translated directly, this means ‘Pasta with Tuna’. A straight forward dish originating from the island of Sicily- where much of Italy’s seafood is caught. Giuseppe Garibaldi, an Italian national hero in his bid to unify Italy was said to have eaten it in 1860 which was the year he arrived in the Sicilian city of Marsala…but like most pasta dishes, it presents differently depending on which region prepares it.
Some regions use either anchovies, capers or black olives. Fresh tuna for some, canned for others. Fresh tomatoes, canned…or bottled passata…tomato paste- or not. Some add parsley, some oregano and some regions will toss breadcrumbs through it. Some love the chili- some omit it. What I love about it, is you can choose, and play with the flavours. You can’t go wrong, whatever combination you choose.
This dish is for the home, on a weekday, when the family wants real food, cooked in the same time it takes to boil your pasta. Now that’s the way most of us like to cook so keep this recipe up your sleeve. I know it’ll be one of your trusted saviour dinners. How easy is it to keep a can of tuna, a bottle of passata sauce or canned tomatoes…and a box of Barilla Pasta in your pantry. Emergency dinner….Done.
Put your salted water on to a rolling boil. Be generous when choosing the size of your pasta pot. The larger the volume of water, the less starchy your pasta will turn out. Add your spaghetti to the boiloing water, stirring immediately so the spaghetti strands remain separate. Stir regularly.
While you’re waiting for your water to boil, heat a large skillet and drain the oil from the canned tuna into the skillet. Allow any water to evaporate and add enough oil to cover the base of you pan. Add the onion and saute until golden.
* Add the capers and/or chili here if using, otherwise skip to the next step.
* Add your tomato paste here if using and cook for 1 further minute or until caramelized
* Add your black olives here if using and heat through.
Add the tomatoes (canned, fresh or 750ml bottled passata) and re-season. Cook for 15 minutes.
Drain the pasta just before the al dente stage, reserving 1 cup or so of the water. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook for a further minute. Add some of your reserved water to create the consistency you prefer.
Serve immedietely and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, if you love the flavour. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top if you like.
“In my culture…we don’t use parmesan on seafood”…and you certainly won’t see it served like that in a restaurant…but as everything is according to taste…you might find you choose to use it on this dish. It’s entirely up to you.