Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuna and White Bean Pasta with Gremolata Bread Crumbs

We have had crappy weather all this week and worse is yet to come. It's been raining (yes, raining in San Diego), it's cold and we've had very high winds. And since I have a little baby I was a bit scared to go out driving in this rainy weather to go food shopping. Instead, I found this recipe (and yes, it's from Rachael Ray) and believe it or not, I had most of the ingredients in my pantry. A few modifications are: I halved the recipe and used 1 can of tuna; instead of breadcrumbs I used Panko breadcrumbs; I omitted the rosemary but used a little oregano instead; I didn't have any chicken broth so I used the starchy water of the pasta and lastly I used canned tomato sauce because I didn't have any fresh tomatoes. All in all, it was quite hearty, very filling and I finally found a reason to use my can of anchovies!!!!

INGREDIENTS (serves 6)

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 flat filet anchovies, optional
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, toast and grind stale bread or store bought
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 pound penne or ziti rigate
  • 4 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine, white vermouth or chicken broth
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped or 1 can 15 ounces can diced tomatoes, drained, optional

Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in small pan over medium-low heat with anchovies, if using. Melt anchovies into oil until they dissolve then add garlic and stir 2 minutes then add breadcrumbs and stir and cook until deeply golden in color. Stir in zest of 2 lemons and parsley and crushed red pepper flakes. Turn off heat and transfer to a bowl.

Heat a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add celery, onions and 2 cloves garlic to the pan and cook until just tender, 5 minutes. Add white beans and rosemary and heat through 2 to 3 minutes more. Add wine, vermouth or broth, flakes tuna and tomato, if using. Stir 2 minutes then turn off heat.

Just before draining the pasta, add a ladle of starchy cooking water to pan along with the drained pasta, toss to combine. Serve in shallow bowls with lots of breadcrumbs and a drizzle of oil on top.