I know that many of you have the winter blues and, although I am jealous of your snowy landscapes, I can understand that living with snow is not as romantic as it may sound. I lived in the Mid-west for one winter and, looking back, it turned out to be a pretty mild one. Snow and ice were so alien to me that I remember the first time that I had ice on my wind-shield I tried to scrape it off with my bare hands. Bad idea. But I was clueless at the time.
Living here in the central Mediterranean, snow and ice are two things we never have to deal with. Occasionally, we get a terrific hailstorm but that hasn’t happened in three years. Rain is the only inconvenience (if you can call it that) that we have to put up with and, believe it or not, I know people here who will complain about that too. I am always on the point of telling them to move to Saudi Arabia if they want sunshine 365 days a year.
Anyway, today I am going to share a recipe which should at least summerise your dinners, if not your weather. It is really, really easy to make and, if you like all the ingredients, extremely tasty too. So here goes:
Pasta With Tuna and Lemon
3 quarts water(2.75l)
1 pound penne (450g)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can (61/22 ounce) water packed tuna, drained and flaked (190g)
1/4 fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (if it’s not in season I use dry parsley)
1/4 pasta cooking water
1/4 freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)
Bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in a large pan set on medium heat until sizzling (about 3 minutes).
Remove the pan from heat and carefully add the tuna (make sure it’s drained well or you will get a lot of splattering from the oil), lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of the chopped parsley and the pasta cooking water (I usually do not add the water as I don’t like my sauce to be too runny but that is my personal preference).
Return the pan to low heat and stir for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Drain the cooked pasta and return to the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta, add the remaining parsley and cook for a further 3 minutes, tossing well. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
This recipe is from the book ‘Glorious Italian Cooking’ by Nick Stellino. I love his recipes and recommend them to all of you who like Italian food. This is what Nick himself writes about this recipe: “On the annual festival of the village saint, it was customary for all the unmarried women to prepare a dish for a contest. This year, it was to be judged by a handsome fisherman, Turiddu. Each of the young ladies stood behind her creation while Turiddu tasted. When he came to Nunziata’s pasta, Turiddu felt an explosion of flavour. Turning to Nunziata, her eyes seemed to reflect ocean waves breaking onto a sandy shore into a million tiny diamond flecks, each reflecting the orange glow of the setting sun. Legend reports that it was this recipe which brought Turiddu and Nunziata together”. With a story like that, who wouldn’t want to try this recipe at least once?