This tuna pasta is one of those recipes that brings back a great deal of good memories. I was making something similar back in high school. Cheap canned tuna, cheap canned tomatoes sauce and cheap pasta. That’s all we needed (that’s I need today). Back then I was usually tasked with any vacation/camping trip cooking needs…actually would volunteer as you might have guessed. My guy friends did not enjoy doing the cooking much, well except for my best friend this, Italian guy who I haven’t seen in forever. He wasn’t the biggest fan of my tuna dish or canned tuna period. The rest of my friend would only come near a grill perhaps… to flip a steak or stand guard near the cutting board. Opposite to the guys, the girls most loved cooking but hated grilling. Why is that?
I used to make the same 3 things back then: Chicken in tomato sauce (some sort of stew with potatoes), chicken in tomato sauce with pasta AND tuna in tomato sauce with pasta. Yes, basically the same recipe… but I got away with it! Ok, we could add a fourth… pasta bolognese. When I got it right, it was awesome… if I got it right. For these dishes the base was the same. A combination of celery, carrots, onions… add peppers because we Venezuelans gotta have those everywhere and some chicken stock (the knorr bouillon cubed kind of course, classic). Oh, and of course garlic… oh and paprika.. that comes from the spanish side of the family…Anyways, all pretty simple but delicious and except for chicken stock (which today I don’t think it needs it), today’s dish is very similar. To mix it up, I added chopped almonds and sweet peas at the end of the cooking. Hope you guys find this as comforting as I did today…over 20 years since the last time I made my classic economy high school tuna pasta.
- 300 grams of long pasta (about half a pack)
- 2 12 oz cans of tuna in oil.
- 2-3 red/yellow peppers, chopped finely
- 2 celery stalks finely chopped
- 1 yellow or white onion, chopped finely
- 3-4 cloves of garlic. chopped finely
- 1/2 Cup chopped almonds
- 1/2 Cup of canned sweet peas. Drained.
- 1 1/2 Tbsp of tomato paste
- 1/2 Tsp sweet paprika (optional)
- some chopped parsley
- salt and pepper
- Cook your pasta in salty water until al dente. Set aside.
- Open the tuna cans and drain using a strainer. Make sure you collect the liquid.
- Use about a Tbsp of the collected tuna can oil on a large skillet over medium heat. Some of the tuna water might be there.. don't worry. Heat the oil until the water is evaporated.
- Sauté the onions, celery, peppers for about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes until it darkens to a rich brown.
- Add the garlic to the pan. Cook for a minute or less. Don't let it brown.
- Add the tuna to the pan. Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and simmer until the liquid is reduced and the sauce has a nice and thick consistency.
- Adjust salt and pepper.
- Strain the pasta and mix it into the sauce. Add the peas at this stage.
- Plate and garnish with some chopped parsley. Finish with some of that collected tuna oil.
- I adjusted the acidity of the sauce with some brown sugar. Depends on your ingredients, specially the tomato this might or might not be needed. Follow your instincts.
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