I went into the discount Goodwill store (I call it the Bins) this week, and found this little binder full of recipes. Some of them are typed up, others are just written on slips of paper and shoved between the pages. On one slip of paper was the bare bones of a recipe called Tuna Pasta. I decided to flesh it out, and came up with a pretty awesome pantry pasta that was ready in about 15 minutes.
What you need:
1 T olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
2-4 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 can tuna in olive oil
1 big can pureed tomatoes, 28 ounces
2 T tomato paste
1 small can chopped olives
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 cup frozen peas
salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes
Bow tie pasta
How to make it:
Put a pot of salted water on the stove to start to boil for the pasta.
Heat the oil in a deep pan and add the chopped onion and garlic until translucent. Don’t let the garlic brown or it will be bitter.
Add the can of tuna, oil and all. Break it up with a wooden spoon and let it brown a little bit.
Pour in the can of tomato puree and let it heat to simmering. Add the tomato paste and stir until it blends in. The paste adds some body and a richer tomato flavor to the sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. I like spicy sauce, especially when there are sweet elements as well (like the peas and the cottage cheese), so I put in a shake of red pepper flakes. Let simmer while you get the pasta in the boiling water. You’ll want to boil it for 11 or 12 minutes.
Stir the cottage cheese into the sauce. If you have it on hand, you can use ricotta instead, but I thought the cottage cheese worked really well.
Add the can of olives and stir until the cheese is melted. Throw in the frozen peas when the pasta has maybe three mintues left to cook. The peas are best when they’re just warmed and not over cooked.
When everything is mixed up and heated through you have a thick, rich sauce with a mild tuna flavor, a little spice, and sweetness from the peas and cottage cheese.
Drain the pasta. You can serve the pasta and sauce separately, or do what I did and just pour the sauce over the pasta. Since you’re using cans here, yon can’t really regulate the amount of sauce. This serves at least four or five big helpings, so if you’re just serving yourself and a little girl, like I was, you’ll have leftovers. I find that pouring sauce over the pasta keeps everything from getting sticky or dried out.
Ruby and I both practically licked our bowls clean. It was a nice mid-week, homemade dinner that will reheat easily for lunch the next day. You can taste the tuna, but it’s very mild. The peas were the star. They gave the pasta a bright, fresh flavor. This one is a keeper.
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