The first five words I say when I am about to speak of Italian food is, “When I was in Italy….” …Oh, I’m sure my family and friends are sick of it by now, but what else can I say, the food in Italy was so spectacular that I have no choice but to reference that boot shape country whenever I speak of its culinary wonders.
When I was in Italy on Christmas Eve, Giovanni’s Uncle Alberto made many extraordinary fish dishes and the other night here I made one of those dishes and I am still reveling in its deliciousness- –Tuna sauce with Spaghetti … –Made correctly you will be hooked forever. –It is uncommonly to die for good.
Alberto is proud of his tuna masterpiece. (Vignola, Italy)
Vito serves it up! (Vignola, Italy)
When I mentioned this dish to a few people they grimaced disapprovingly, but those people think tuna is only for mayonnaise and white bread, and those people are so disturbingly wrong and are no longer my friends. Tuna Sauce is certainly not a new concept, people have been using Tuna this way forever, case in point, when I was in Italy I was told that Nero, the Roman Emperor who was known for enhancing the cultural life of his Empire and commanded that theaters be built and encouraged athletic games, also demanded every Roman Citizen eat Tuna Sauce with spaghetti twice a week or he’d burn anyone who refused to do so to a stake. I am no Nero, but I do demand this recipe be part of your culinary repertoire immediately.
Here is how to do it,
Lots of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 half of an onion
red pepper flakes (optional)
a pinch of sugar
salt & pepper
One large jar or two or five small cans of good tuna. (Finally flaked)
Enough tomato sauce to turn the tuna a pinkish red and more of you like it really red.
In a sauté pan heat a good amount of olive oil and sauté the onions and carrots that are finely diced or ground in a food processor. Add the bay leaf, and then add the flaked tuna and enough tomato sauce to make it turn pink, add more if you want it to have a deeper tomato flavor. Cook and reduce the sauce until it becomes thick and pasty, and the olive oil makes it appearance. This is also good on its own and served on Italian bread! The oil should be on the heavy side, but not crazy…use your better judgment. Place cook spaghetti (about a pound) into the pan and toss the tuna and oil throughout until it’s all coated.