In the heat of summer, it’s nice to have a few back-pocket recipes that require very little cooking. This lemony pasta with canned tuna in olive oil, capers, and olives, fits the bill. It’s delicious hot or cold, making it a perfect dish for picnics or potlucks. Look for good quality solid albacore or yellowfin tuna that is packed in pure olive oil. Use any short macaroni shape, such as gemelli (twisted “twins”) or fusilli (corkscrews). Be sure to generously salt the pasta cooking water; a general rule of thumb is 2 teaspoons salt per quart of water.
|Salt, to taste|
|12||ounces short pasta, such as gemelli or fusilli|
|3||tablespoons olive oil|
|3||cloves garlic, thinly sliced|
|½||teaspoon crushed red pepper|
|2||cans (5 ounces each) tuna in olive oil (do not drain)|
|⅔||cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped|
|Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon|
|¼||cup chopped fresh tarragon or flat-leaf parsley|
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite (different shapes have varied cooking times). Before you drain the pasta, use a heatproof measuring cup to remove ¾ cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta into a colander but do not rinse it.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is just beginning to turn light golden brown. Add the tuna with its oil and juices to the pan and stir gently. Add the olives, capers, and lemon rind and juice. Stir to combine.
3. Add the cooked pasta and reserved cooking water to the tuna mixture. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pasta has absorbed most of the liquid in the skillet. Sprinkle with tarragon or parsley and divide among 4 shallow bowls. Claudia Catalano