|Salsa di Tonno e Crema|
I have been planning a trip to Italy for years now and although this dream vacation is still only in the planning stages nothing says Italy like its food, and nothing says Italian food like pasta!!! The Italian cuisine is rich and varied in all its aspects, but pasta has been its pride and glory through much of its history. When Italians emigrated, settling throughout the New World, they brought their pasta with them and it has found its way into everyone's life style, a worldwide comfort food that today we take for granted. The origins of pasta are as tangled, however, as spaghetti tossed in a bowl.
No matter what it's history and who claims it as their own there is little doubt that pasta has become an every day staple. Under Italian law, dry pasta (pasta secca) can only be made from durum wheat flour or durum wheat semolina. Durum flour and durum semolina have a yellow tinge in color and connoisseurs agree that Italian dry pasta manufactures’ products are superior in taste. Did you know that some use hard durum flour from Canada? Once you taste quality dried pasta, it will be very hard for you to return to the industrially produced alternatives. It’s not just for flavour, but the firm, rough texture puts it way out in front and actually helps you to achieve that al dente ‘firm to the teeth’ texture that is the mark of well-cooked pasta. Poor quality often ends up sticky and soggy.
Pasta is high in nutrients so I have stopped neglecting pasta and try and join in on the fun whenever possible over at Presto Pasta Nights. This is the brainstorm of Ruth over at Once Upon a Feast who celebrates pasta every week. The event is being hosted this week by Chaya of Sweet and Savory . Head over to Chaya's site on Friday for the round-up of delicious pasta dishes.
I became an Italian food goddess when I realized the following. Fresh vegetables of the season + pasta = one fabulous taste of Italy. Here in Canada during the winter months fresh garden vegetables are not available but canned ingredients are canned at the peak of freshness. This is a tasty pasta dish that whips ups in minutes. It is based on a dish from Canadian Chef David Rocco. As David says, "The next time someone in your household wants to order pizza make a bet with them. They order a pizza and you make this pasta. See which one is ready first....and which tastes better".
**Salsa di Tonno e Crema (Tomato Cream with Tuna)**
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
8 large sun dried tomatoes, chopped
12 black olives, pitted
200g (7 oz) canned tuna
2 cups (470 mL) tomato sauce
1/2 cup (120 mL) 35% whipping cream
Bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
Cook your pasta until al dente. While it is cooking make the sauce. Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add garlic, sun dried tomatoes and black olives. Cook until garlic turns golden in colour.
Pour in tomato sauce and cook for a few minutes. Drain the canned tuna and add it to the sauce. Cook for an additional minute.
Add the whipping cream and cook all together on high heat until just before the sauce begins to boil.
Drain your pasta, reserving 1/2 cup (125 mL) or so of the cooking water. Add cooked penne (just before the al dente stage) and a little bit of the reserved cooking water to help bind everything together. Cooking directly in the sauce for an additional minute. At this point you may want to add another 1/2 cup (125 mL) of cream. Just make sure you cook the pasta long enough to let the cream reduce and thicken up the sauce.
Sprinkle parsley and drizzle with the best extra virgin olive oil available. Serve immediately.
Per 4 persone
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