Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Pasta shells with Italian tuna and artichokes

photo by Terry B

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
Serves 4

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:

Pasta shells with Italian tuna and artichokes

Terry, this post was so much fun! I’m hoping we can do this again sometime!


Truffle said...

Oh this sounds like such a lovely combination of flavours!

Valentina said...

Terry, so true about the tuna. Whenever I make dishes with canned tuna I buy a fabulous Spanish variety. A bit steep in price comparing it to the ordinary stuff. But then who wants the mushy supermarket variety once you taste something that is really delicious. Lovely dish. Love dishes like that in the spring/summer.Lovely colaboration.

Anh said...

This combination is absolutely a winner! I love it!

Anonymous said...

Patricia, I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks for your kind words. And you're right--it was fun. I'm definitely seeing future collaborations.

Both Spain and Italy produce excellent canned tuna, so it all depends on what's available where you live. Here, it's Italian. For everyday things like tuna sandwiches, the regular stuff is fine, but when the tuna is the star, you can't beat the good stuff.

And it's so funny that you added basil. When I have it growing in the garden [still too early here], I'll sometimes substitute it for the parsley.

Freya said...

Only you, Patricia Scarpin, could make tinned tuna look yummy! I can't normally eat it but I am so tempted to try this one!

Anonymous said...

There is a local tuna company here that produces a high end line of hand carved (no machines involved here!) prime tuna belly from a province down south that is famous for its tuna...this is a great way to use it! Thanks for sharing this recipe Terry and Patricia! It definitely sounds delicious :) I can also get Spanish tuna here...Can't wait to try this!

Warda said...

Now I am lost. Do I adress my comment to Patricia or Terry??? Just kidding. I actually love tuna with pasta for summer. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the brand of tuna. Well let's not forget Patricia. Hi Patricia!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Patricia and Terry - looks fresh and delicious! So many good flavors and so easy.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Patricia and Terry, I love when you cross-post! I'm going to dig out that good Italian canned tuna in my pantry right now.

Kirsten said...

Sooo delicious. Nothing like tuna and pasta - lovely!!


Judy said...

That looks like a really delicious meal. Simple, rustic, and filling. Plus, I love tuna in just about anything.

Melting Wok said...

Pat, you're so gutsy to add tuna to pasta, which I never dared to, always in sandwiches..well,I've got 3 cans tuna left in my pantry, this might just be it, now, I gotta go get some pasta of some sort, thx :)

Stella said...

I love tuna but never had those in olive oil. Must be so delicious & healthy. Oh lucky you Pat.
Love your pasta, I think you should open up your own pasta restaurant with the billions of pasta recipes you successfully whip out each time:)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Truffle, the ingredients are perfect together.

Tina, João liked it, can you imagine? :D

Anh, Terry is a fabulous cook!

Terry, of course I did! What's not to like here?
My basil is huge and it makes me very happy, since I love adding it to everything.

Freya, you're the sweetest, my dear! Thank you!

Joey, this tuna sounds great! Very artisanal. Let me know if you make the dish, I'm sure Terry would love to know too.

Hi Rose!!!! I'm sure he's gonna come here and read the comments, too. :)

T.W., thank you! I put it together in no time.

Kirsten, thank you, sweetie!

Judy, tuna is great, I agree with you. Thank you for your lovely words!

Melting Wok, it's all Terry's fault. :)

Valentina, I had to go to Sao Paulo (where I work, but I live in a small town nearby) to get it. And it cost 4x more the regular kind. But worth every penny. :)
If I ever open a restaurant I'd love to have you as my VIP customer. :)

Lis said...

Ohhh why did I click on your fabulous blog with 2 hours left before I can leave for lunch????

I didn't think I was that hungry until I saw Terry's dish.. and then reading further down and seeing YOUR dish.. *sob*

I WANT SOME NOW!! (Inwardly I'm throwing quite the tantrum, I'll have you know)

I used all of my Italian tuna, my artichokes AND my capers in an antipasto I made a couple weeks ago.. so guess where I'll be stopping on the way home for lunch? hehehee!

Both are fabulous.. great post you two!

Toni said...

Hi Pat - What a great idea! Love the "cross fertilization" of posts, and I adore tuna and pasta together. And yes, as Terry said, when tuna's the star, you don't go for the ordinary kind.

Brilynn said...

I love using shell noodles because of the way sauce gets stuck inside of them.

Anonymous said...

I am always looking for something to use shell noodles for besides mac and cheese. This recipe looks amazing!

Anonymous said...

Your pasta is mamamiiiiiiiaaaaaaa

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lis, my dear, I've felt the same visiting your blog already. Pure torture!
That antipasto sounds delicious, too!
Thank you, sweetie!

Toni, it all started months ago, Terry's idea. I'm so glad you liked it!

Bri, me too! No waste here! :)

Kristen, thank you! I'm sure you'd like it.

Candy, grazie! ;)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

This was a lovely idea, Patricia. Terry B.'s blog is always a delight to read, and his recipe sounds fabulous!

christine said...

This sounds so light yet delicious! I love using tuna on my pasta or salads, so I'd like to try this. And the cross-posting thing is a great idea, fun! :)

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