Pasta gets a “bad rap” but mom’s know that it is a crucial vehicle for vegetables and protein. Plus, those of us with Google (a.k.a. everyone) will discover that if you keep to a single serving of noodles, you’re good! Oh and if we avoid cream and butter, well, you’re great! But really this pasta dish is good, it's hard to just keep to one single serving.
So here I am, musing over easy and delicious meals and I just have to share the fabulous and aptly named “George Clooney Florence Pasta” (because everything sounds and tastes better when Clooney’s name is on it). I came across this recipe from Food 52 while looking for pasta dishes that were not sauced based and the ingredients were all conveniently located in my kitchen.
Spaghetti or bucatini (no whimpy pasta allowed)
Sea or kosher salt
Good quality olive oil
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Tuna packed in olive oil
Spinach (or whatever greens you have on hand)
Lemon (Meyer if you’re fancy)
Quality Parmesan or Romano shavings
Aside from how fabulous this dish tastes, I absolutely adore how easy and quick the preparation is. Boil a pot of water and before dropping your pasta, generously salt the water (we want to emulate salty ocean water). Set a timer for 3 minutes short of recommended cooking time (trust!).
While the pasta is cooking, heat large frying pan to medium-high heat. Rather than the usual small glug of olive oil, pour a good 5 ounces into the pan. When oil is hot (not smoking!), add halved tomatoes. They will begin to melt and the “sauce” will start to come together. As the tomatoes soften, add garlic. When it is very fragrant, add tuna, with the oil (yes!). Break up chunks of tuna and turn down heat to a nice simmer.
When timer goes off for pasta, grab your tongs and drop pasta directly into “sauce” from the water. Trust, you want super al dente because the pasta will continue to cook while it mingles in the pan will the other ingredients. Add a couple ladles of cooking water into pan so everything will stick to the pasta. Stir pasta to coat with all that deliciousness.
Toss in spinach (or arugula or kale) and add the lemon juice. Move everything around until greens are wilted. Taste before adding salt and pepper and then season to taste. Use tongs to plate pasta, pour remaining “sauce” over pasta. Finally garnish with a snowfall of cheese shavings (I like an extra heaping mound of Parmesan).
And an extra little something something I like to add is Terroni’s hot sauce (peperoncini piccanti) to add another dimension to this yummy dish. If you live in Toronto, you can grab a jar at Terroni or you can order it online and they ship every in Canada. Try Giftagram if you want to gift this to a friend is the US (or as my friends will remember me saying USofA).
Most important part of this all, eat and enjoy! Savour every delicious bite of this unexpected dish, filled with protein, healthy fats, veggies and yummy pasta! And if you want to visualize sharing this pasta with George Clooney, well mama, you do you!