To fully enjoy this dish requires a love of tuna fish. Not just any tuna but canned tuna packed in olive oil. That’s where the secret to success lies. Water packed tuna is too dry and bland. It’s imperative that you use a good quality oil-packed white albacore tuna.
I love dishes like this where in the time it takes to boil and cook the pasta you can make the entire meal! Onion, garlic and red pepper flakes are sauteed along with tuna then tossed with the angel hair pasta and some of its starchy water to make a bare bones sauce. Chopped parsley adds a much needed hit of freshness and color. You can eat this as a main dish with crusty bread to sop up the oily sauce or serve it as an appetizer, it’s light enough for that. This is best eaten fresh as the leftovers tend to get a little fishy!
I grew up eating tuna in tomato sauce as a part of our traditional Christmas eve fish feast. For me it’s the kind of dish I have to be in the right mood for. Like liver and onions. Or corned beef and cabbage. It’s not something you want to eat everyday or even every week, it’s one of those occasional cravings that hits you out of the blue.
1. In a large skillet saute onion and red pepper flakes in olive oil (season with salt and pepper) over medium low heat until translucent, add garlic and saute until fragrant.
2. Meanwhile cook angel hair according to package directions in plenty of salted water setting aside 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining. Once drained toss with a tablespoon or two of extra-virgin olive oil to prevent sticking.
3. Add tuna with its oil to skillet and cook about 5 minutes, breaking up tuna into small pieces.
4. Add pasta and pasta water to skillet and toss well with tuna sauce. Cook, stirring vigorously until sauce thickens and clings to pasta. Stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a main dish or 6-8 as an appetizer.
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