Last January my foodie friend Terry cooked a recipe I’d sent him: rice and beans, Brazilian style. After that, I thought it would be lovely to cook something he would send me the recipe for, and to have some of this witty text and beautiful photos around here.
Terry, time for you to take the stage:
"When Patricia graciously invited me to do a post here at Technicolor Kitchen, it was still winter in Chicago, where Blue Kitchen is based. Naturally, I thought of roasts and stews and other hearty cold weather fare. Then I remembered that it was summertime in Brazil. The Internet has made the world seem so tiny that I sometimes forget how big it really is.
So next I thought of this dish, one of my summer favorites--a quick, colorful pasta that makes a great lunch or light supper. And the only thing you cook is the pasta, so the kitchen doesn't get too hot. A great idea, except that I was in the middle of moving--hunting for an apartment, packing, painting, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of... and then the actual move itself. Now that I'm finally getting around to sharing the recipe, it's autumn in Brazil. Oh, well. It's still pretty tasty, no matter when you make it.
In Italy, a no-cook pasta sauce like this is called a salsa cruda. The room temperature sauce slightly cools the cooked pasta, and the pasta slightly warms the sauce, making for a meal that feels less heavy than many pasta dishes. The shells catch bits of tuna, the capers and other ingredients, delivering big taste with each bite.
A note about the tuna. For this dish, bring out the good stuff--quality tuna packed in olive oil. The olive oil becomes part of the sauce. I use a brand imported from Italy. As you can see in the photo, the quality of the flesh is far superior to the ground-up mush you often find in canned tuna.
photo by Terry B
Pasta shells with Italian tuna and artichokes
2 6-ounce (168g) cans imported Italian tuna in olive oil
1 6-ounce (168g) jar artichoke hearts, drained, bigger pieces sliced in half lengthwise
¼ cup capers, drained
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
freshly ground black pepper to taste
340g (12 ounces) medium pasta shells
Bring a large pot of water to boil to cook pasta. While water is coming to a boil, mix the salsa cruda ingredients in a large bowl, big enough to hold the pasta as well, once it's cooked. Do not drain the tuna--add the olive oil it's packed in to the bowl. Break up larger chunks of tuna into bite-sized pieces.
When water comes to boil, salt it generously, then cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain pasta, add to salsa cruda and toss. As the hot pasta mixes with the salsa, the fragrances you'd been noticing as you worked with the ingredients will explode. Garlic, lemon, parsley, tuna, artichoke hearts... and my favorite, the briny tang of the capers. Divide into four pasta bowls or plates and serve."
My thoughts about the dish: it’s just delicious! João had a big plate of pasta and kept saying how wonderful it tasted – and it’s so hard to cook for him sometimes.
I had seconds, Terry, and I wasn’t supposed to. :)
These are the things I had different from the recipe:
- I couldn’t find Italian tuna, so I bought a Spanish one that was packed in extra virgin olive oil. Very tasty and quite similar to the photo Terry sent me;
- I love capers, so I used a bit more than the amount on the recipe;
- I’m a basil worshiper so I added a handful of leaves to the salsa cruda.
This is my version of Terry's pasta:
Terry, this post was so much fun! I’m hoping we can do this again sometime!