25 August 2009

Tuna, White Bean Pasta Salad with Herb Caper Pesto

Tuna, White Bean Pasta Salad with Herb Caper Pesto
Susan of the The Well Seasoned Cook has announced, I believe, the 14th edition of her My Legume Love Affair event. The popular bean-centric event is now in its second year, and this month is stopping by at The Well-Seasoned Cook where it all began. Hosting her own event will be a special treat for her. For those new to the event, your choice of recipes is very broad. All courses and cuisines are welcome, as long as legumes are the dominant ingredient.

For this event I chose to use Cannellini beans. They are a variety of white bean popular in Central and Southern Italy, particularly in Tuscany. Other names for the bean include white kidney bean and fazolia bean. They are similar to white navy beans or haricots, as they are known in Britain. These large white beans are often mistaken for great northern beans, as the two are so alike in appearance. You'll want to drain and rinse the beans, which will "refresh" them and remove any excess salt.

For convenience, and to beat the heat, I chose to use the canned variety. You can also cook your own beans. Before cooking, soak cannellini beans overnight, then pressure cook for 18 minutes or simmer on top of the stove for 2 -1/2 to 3 hours. One cup of dried cannellini beans makes approximately 3 cups cooked.

These beans are an excellent source of iron, magnesium, and folate. A single serving of cannellini beans provides more than 20 percent of the recommended daily values of these nutrients. They are also a good source of protein, providing more than 15 grams per serving. Other nutritional benefits include their low fat content and calorie count. Each serving contains only 225 calories and less than one gram of fat. How perfect is that.

According to Lydia of The Perfect Pantry "Cannellini, are so popular in Tuscany that the Tuscan people have been nicknamed mangiafagiole, or "beaneaters". They were originally cultivated in Argentina, and now are grown in Greece, France and central Italy. During the 16th Century, due to Catherine de Medici's attempts to "refine" Italian cuisine, beans were seldom eaten except by the peasant class. However, because of their nutritious (high in fiber, iron, magnesium and folate) and economical benefits, beans slowly returned to favor in Italian cooking, and their popularity spread throughout the northern Mediterranean cuisines."

In this months issue of Food & Wine magazine I came across a tuna and cannellini salad that I thought would make a perfect move over to a pasta salad for a summertime twist on another Italian pasta treat Pasta e Fagioli or "Pasta and Beans." The beans and tuna are combined with a pesto made with parsley, basil, capers and oregano. Capers especially are a perfect marriage for the tuna.

L'il Burnt Toast is coming over to lunch to enjoy a tuna extravaganza!!!!

**Tuna, White Bean Pasta Salad with Herb Caper Pesto**

1 small garlic clove
1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup packed basil leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons oregano leaves
1/4 cup capers, drained
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Three 7-ounce jars high-quality Italian tuna packed in olive oil, drained
Two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
4 cups gomiti pasta or other elbow shaped past of your choice

In a pit of boiling water cook pasta according to manufacturers directions. Rinse under cold water and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the garlic with the parsley, basil and oregano and blitz until the herbs are coarsely chopped. Add the capers and pine nuts and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and pulse until the pesto comes together but is still chunky. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, break up the tuna into bite-size chunks. Add the cannellini beans, cooked pasta, red onions and caper pesto and toss gently until the salad is evenly coated. Season the tuna salad with salt and pepper and serve,

NOTE: The tossed salad can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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26 comments:

  1. You and your pestos are just awesome, Valli! :)

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  2. That salad contains only delicious ingredients! Extremely appetizing and tasty!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. Such a great salad, so healthy too!

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  4. Oh, looks yum. Classic combo. have a good lunch with L'il one.

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  5. 14th edition? Wow! How time flies. I love this dish, Val. I agree that tuna and cannellini beans make perfect mates.

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  6. love the sound of the caper pesto

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  7. Looks gorgeous! I'm a fan of white beans.

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  8. I love white beans. They're great in soup and they make wonderful garlic and white bean dips!

    Fascinating pesto. I love seeing pestos that go beyond the usual basil/garlic/pine nut thing.

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  9. I made a salad very similar to this from Mark Bittman's new book but it didn't have the pasta in it. This sounds perfect for an easy lunch.
    Sam

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  10. Oh my gosh, I eat tuna and bean salad every week for lunch, and it's never occurred to my wee brain to add pasta! This is brilliant! My tuna and bean salad recipe is almost identical to what you've got here. YUM!

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  11. What a lovely twist on a cannellini bean salad! I'm adding this one to my bookmarks.

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  12. I come back from vacation and find this delicious blog entry. You always share great recipes :)

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  13. I agree with Jenn! Your pestos sre awesome and I love this healthy dish, often making something similar in the summer...thank you for sharing Val.

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  14. Your picture is so pretty!! The salad sounds wonderful Val!

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  15. Beautiful! White beans & tuna are one of my favorite combos...looks and sounds delicious :D

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  16. I love that event, even though I haven't participated in it very often. That salad looks delicious. Beans in salads is a great idea to add some protein :)

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  17. Wow sounds not only healthy but really delicious as well. I love the caper pesto. YUM!

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  18. aah! I love this Vall, love beans, love basil, onion etc. so is amazing salad, the pictures beauty!!xGloria

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  19. Oh, I get this italian tuna in olive oil, expensive but worth it (they also sell salmon in the same glass jars)

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  20. That pesto is a killer! Love those capers!

    Thanks, Val, for your MLLA recipe!

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  21. Thanks for visiting my blog. I love the pictures in your header. It makes me miss the Northwest.

    I simply love salads, especially this time of year.

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  22. Wow, this is my kind of salad. I crave these flavors together.

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  23. Val, this salad is such a great way to use beans in the summer and a good twist on the usual tuna salad.

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  24. great interpretation of a few classics. I'll be trying this one.

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  25. This is one tasty sounding pasta salad!

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  26. This recipe is calling me. I love the combination of ingredients. Congrats to Susan for such a wildly successful event.
    LL

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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