Everyday Food (January/February 2009)
Not long after our friend Aubrey's last visit to DC, we received in a box in the mail filled with a bottle of wine that she enjoys from the Pacific Northwest -- where she lives -- along with three small, beautiful copper-colored tins.
It was extremely thoughtful of her. Of course we loved the wine, but we were especially intrigued by the unmarked tins.
What were they?
It turns out that Aubrey has married into a family of fishermen, and the tins contained tuna that her father-in-law had caught himself.
How cool is that?!
Armed with these beautiful tins of tuna, we knew we wanted to do something really special. A tuna salad simply would not do.
So we kept the tins for a few months while we contemplated what to do with them. When the January/February Everyday Food arrived, we just had to use them to make this Spaghetti with Tuna, Lemon and Breadcrumbs.
We're not typically the sort to put tuna or any seafood for that matter on pasta. But we were game for trying it.
We made two slight variations, not so much out of choice but by necessity. First, we omitted the Kalamata olives because we simply didn't have them on hand. Then we substituted angel hair for spaghetti, because it's all we had in house. Sometimes, the Bitten Word boys do not plan ahead.
Regardless, the result is a delicious and light pasta filled with bright but comforting flavors. The fresh breadcrumbs add a nice texture and crunch, while the lemon perfectly compliments the tuna. Pick up some good quality tuna in water and give this recipe a try.
If you include the olives, let us know how you think they work in the pasta!
Incidentally, if you want to make this dish exactly as we have, the same tuna that Aubrey sent us is available online from Jack's Country Store, based in Ocean Park, Washington. It's darn good tuna.
Good-quality pasta and tuna, both pantry staples, make this meal easy, delicious, and affordable. Stock up on them when they are on sale.
Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 2 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 3/4 pound spaghetti
* 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
* 3 tablespoons slivered Kalamata olives
* 2 cans (6 ounces each) chunk light tuna in water, drained
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse bread and 1 teaspoon oil until coarse crumbs form. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, tossing occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot. Add lemon zest and juice, parsley, olives, and 1 tablespoon oil; toss, adding enough pasta water to coat. Add tuna; toss gently. Serve sprinkled with breadcrumbs.