Because we can’t do Food Tours at the moment, we thought instead we might present some of the food we are cooking here in Rome, while the nation is in lockdown.
Btw…. the word “quarantine” comes from the Italian quaranta giorni. (40 days), the period of time the Venetians kept ships suspected of carrying diseases waiting in isolation off its port (enforced from 1377).
Pasta al Tonno – al modo mio. Pasta with Tuna – my way
The secret to this dish is to buy the best quality tuna possible. In Italy, the best is bluefin or yellowfin tuna in olive oil from Sicily. This is great “quarantine” food, as all the main ingredients are pantry store holds.
- 500g (1 packet) pasta. My choice is fusilli, but spaghetti and penne both work well
- A handful of rock salt
- 400g can of tomato pulp
- 200g can/jar of tuna
- Extra virgin olive oil (Evo)
- 1 clove of garlic
- Parsley, chopped, optional
- Salt preserved capers, rinsed of salt, optional. Don’t use capers preserved in vinegar.
- Olives, around 10, optional. I prefer the black Taggiasca olives, from Liguria. (I always have a jar of them, already stoned, on hand).
This pasta sauce can be made in the time it takes the pasta to cook. Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to boiling point. Add the rock salt and the pasta to the pot.
In a frypan, large enough to accommodate all the pasta later, add some evo (about a tablespoon), and the clumsily squashed garlic clove (you can fish it out later, or not, as you prefer) cook for about a minute but don’t let the garlic colour too much. Add the tomato pulp and let it cook for about 5 mins.
Every so often, give the pasta a stir so it doesn’t stick together.
Add the drained tuna, to the tomatoes, canned tuna is already cooked so it doesn’t need to long in the pan. Add the parsley, olives and capers too. I usually don’t add salt because the capers and olives are salty. At this point, taste it, remembering that the salt should be in the pasta water not the sauce. You can leave out any or all of the optional ingredients. This is still a great pasta dish even in its most basic of forms. I sometimes add a little flaked chili pepper together with the garlic, not too much; I’m not looking for heat but for a different base note.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it quickly and add it to the sauce. You need to toss it over the heat, to coat the pasta with the sauce. No cheese, please! Enjoy.