What’s fancy tuna? Fancy tuna, at least in my head, is the kind from Spain packed in olive oil:
I always would see these pretty cans in gourmet shops like Grand Central Market or Eataly and think, “But it’s packed in olive oil. HOW DECADENT. What on earth do you do with that?”
I am happy to report that it is indeed decadent, but guess what. It makes perfect sense in pasta sauce. You would probably be adding some olive oil to your pasta sauce anyway, so why not start with the fancy tuna in olive oil and only need to add a little more?
FANCY TUNA PASTA WITH LEMON, CAPERS, AND PINE NUTS
Adapted from FOOD52, original recipe here. I halved the olive oil, used less tuna (since it’s pricey) and didn’t have any preserved lemons so I just used a regular one.
1 lb. pasta (such as fresh whole-wheat linguini – you may wish to cut long pasta into thirds)
1/4 c. olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (added separately)
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 tsp. fennel (anise) seeds
1/4 c. pine nuts
2 T. capers
2 cans (approx 8 oz.) olive oil-packed tuna, such as Ortiz El Velero Bonito Del Norte (in photo above)
Fresh parsley, chopped
Grated Parmesan for serving
Equipment: Large pot for cooking pasta, small skillet
Set large pot of salted water to boil for cooking your pasta.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, gently warm the olive oil with the lemon zest, bay leaf, a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper, garlic, and fennel seeds. Cook for about 15 minutes over very low heat to let the flavors infuse into the oil (you do not want to even brown the garlic). Add the canned tuna (optionally, you can reserve a few large flakes to place on top of the pasta later), pine nuts, and capers. Gently nudge apart the tuna and let it warm up but not cook.
Once the water boils, cook your pasta according to its instructions until al dente (mine took 3-5 minutes). Drain well. Place back in cooking pot over high heat. Add the pasta sauce, then toss all over high heat for 1-2 minutes until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Top with the reserved large flakes of tuna (if you kept any aside) and chopped fresh parsley. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.