Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pasta with Garlic, Lemon, Capers and Tuna

I stumbled upon this Danette St. Onge recipe earlier in the week. I'm not sure why it caught my eye, as I'm usually on the hunt for beef recipes. But I happen to love all the ingredients in this dish. I saved the recipe and then made it for Becky and I last night. It was so light and refreshing and we both loved it!

The ingredients are so critical, so please read this before you start cooking. First, the pasta. Any short pasta like fusilli, rotini or penne will work. Just make sure it is a semolina based pasta. My favorite short pasta is the Barilla Collezione Artisanal Collection Penne, which I buy on

Next up are capers, which are actually hand-picked flower buds. Often sold in brine, those are just little green vinegar bombs. Instead, buy capers that are packed in sea salt. Rinse them under cold water and you will be amazed by their intricate flavor.

And now the most important ingredient...the tuna. Do not, under any circumstances, use tuna canned in water. That stuff tastes like wet cardboard. You need to buy a good Italian or Spanish tuna packed in olive oil. My favorite is Cento, which I buy by the case at Once you taste it, you will never be able to eat any other canned tuna.

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed
1/2 cup white wine
12 ounces of tuna canned in extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
16-ounces of short pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and then add pasta. Cook to al dente, drain and put into a large bowl.
  2. In a medium skillet, gently heat the oil, half of the garlic, red pepper flakes and capers until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  3. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 minute.
  4. Add tuna with it's oil and the butter to the skillet. Sauté until butter has melted
  5. To the large bowl with the pasta, add the skillet contents, remaining raw garlic and lemon zest. Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly. Season with sea salt to taste and add a generous grind of black pepper. Mix again and serve.

Wine pairing: This meal would be great with a big oaky Chardonnay. But I'm a red lover, so I'd opt for a nice fruity Merlot. If you're having special people over, point your Bentley towards Total Wine and get a Rombauer Merlot for $39.97. It's one of the most extraordinary wines you will ever taste. If you're still saving up to buy that Bentley, set the Nav system on your Toyota for Total Wine and grab a Columbia Crest Grand Estate Merlot for $6.97. It's a heckuva wine for under seven bucks! 

Me and Goldie, 1956

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