Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dinner From Your Kitchen Cabinet

As I was pawing through my kitchen cabinets on Sunday in an effort to refill my spice containers, I realized that I have quite a stash of virtually nonperishable foodstuffs.  Otherwise known as canned food.  I'm not a huge fan of canned food generally so I'm not really sure why I bought all of this stuff, but apparently I thought at one point that it was a good idea.

Anyway, given that we are living in frugal times, I figured that I should use up these provisions, emptying out my cabinets before embarking on any other major food shopping expeditions (or expenditures).  So the other night I set out to craft a meal based only on what I had moldering away in my kitchen.

In order to avoid feeling too white trash about the whole thing I opted to use up the last of the tuna packed in oil that I had picked up on a trip to southern spain.  Sophisticated, right?  It being european and all?

I am very careful to keep a bag a penne in my kitchen at all times, so pasta and tuna seemed to be a natural choice.  I had a vague recollection of a Jamie Oliver recipe that involved tomatoes, tuna, cinnamon and penne that I used to make occasionally, so set out to replicate it as best as I could given what I had available.  Which, once I took inventory, turned out to be a partially drunk bottle of slightly past it white wine, a small red onion, canned tomatoes, some very past it fresh (and I use that term loosely) thyme and a bunch of pathetically limp parsley.

Despite this somewhat dubious list of ingredients, my final dish was quite delicious if I do say.  Warm, filling, fairly nutritious even (assuming of course that the tuna you use isn't too mercury-laced).

Now if only I could figure out how to make that can of Libby's corned beef taste decent...

Aromatic Tuna With Penne
Inspired by Jamie Oliver Recipe From A Book, The Title Of Which Escapes Me

Serves 2

6 ounces penne
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
1/4 cup dry white wine
16 ounces (2 cups) canned tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves,
250 g can of tuna, preferably packed in oil (although in the spirit of this recipe, if what you have is packed in water, that is perfectly fine)
2 pinches allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
kosher salt
1/4 cup of chopped parsley

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.  In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add red onion and cook until translucent.  Pour white wine into saucepan and let cook until wine is nearly gone.  Drain tuna and add to pan.  Stir and cook for a minute or two.  Add tomatoes, thyme, allspice, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt.  Add penne to boiling water.

Cook sauce, stirring occasionally until tomatoes have broken down (approximately 7-10 minutes).  Taste and add more salt if necessary.  Add parsley and stir.  At this point your pasta should be done.  Reserving a bit of pasta water, drain pasta, add to sauce and toss together.  If you find the sauce to be too stiff, add a bit of the pasta water to loosen it.

Now I know that it is considered sacrilege by some to put parmesan cheese on seafood, but I think it's good on this dish.  I mean canned tuna is quite a far cry from fresh sea scallops, so I wouldn't feel too bad about it.



Terry B said...

A funny post, Laura! I think the can of Libby's corned beef serves best as a lesson to never shop for groceries when you're drunk and hungry.

The pasta sounds delicious, though. It reminds me of a salsa cruda pasta I make with Italian tuna, capers and artichoke hearts, in which the only thing you cook is the pasta--another great pantry dish.

Laura said...

Terry, that is totally my kind of recipe. Perfect for the warmer months...yet another reason to look forward to the return of the sun!

Starman said...

1/4 WHAT? dry white wine?

Laura said...

Oops, sorry about that. 1/4 cup of dry white wine.

Jaz said...

It's important to consider the possibility of do it yourself kitchen cabinets and compare kitchen cabinet prices when shopping for new additions to you.

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