It’s 5pm, and you don’t have time to run out to the store for dinner. You don’t want to order in food from the same old delivery places for the millionth time, either. Does this sound familiar? Fear not! Chances are you’ve already got a box of pasta, a can of tuna, and the simple dried seasonings that this versatile recipe calls for. Tweak the recipe below using your own pantry items, and voila! Dinner dilemma solved!
Tuna & Fusilli Alfresco
You won’t believe what this recipe does for a humble can of tuna. This is our idea of perfect beach food, but it gives a jolt of summer even in winter. This pasta sauce also makes a wonderful salad if you omit the cheese and pasta and serve it on lettuce. Garnish either variation with lemon wedges for extra flavor.
- 2 cups (8 ounces) short fusilli
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium or 2 large fresh, ripe Roma (plum) tomatoes (for 1½ cups strips)
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, tightly packed (see note below)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small can (2¼ ounces) sliced black olives
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1 large can (12 ounces) white tuna packed in water
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- ¾ cup (3 ounces) already-shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Place the fusilli in 2½ quarts of already-boiling unsalted water and cook until tender, 12 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, pour the oil into a 3-quart or larger serving bowl. Cut the unpeeled tomatoes into bite-size strips (you should have about 1½ cups). Add the strips to the bowl.
3. Chop the parsley and add it to the bowl. Peel and chop the garlic and add it to the bowl. Drain the olives and add, along with the capers. Drain the tuna, flake it with your fingers into bite-size chunks, and add it to the bowl. Stir well to mix and set aside.
4.. Drain the fusilli and add it to the bowl with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and stir to mix. Sprinkle with the cheese, tossing as you sprinkle until the cheese melts. When the cheese is melted, serve.
NOTE: One fresh herb authors Alicia Ross and Beverly Mills recommend always having on hand is parsley. Available all year, it will keep for up to 5 days if you treat it like you would fresh flowers. Just trim the stem ends and stick them in a glass of water, then pop it in the refrigerator!
If putting a family meal on the table in 20 minutes flat sounds impossible, think again. By using easy-to-master techniques and taking brilliant advantage of convenience foods like frozen chicken breasts, washed and cut vegetables, prebaked pizza crusts, and more, Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross finally solve the eternal conundrum of time versus dinner.
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